Here at BestNewBands.com, we tend to focus mainly on what’s generally lumped into the “indie” genre; “indie” being a word that has come to be used more as a categorization for a certain sound and image of a band, as opposed to simply meaning a band that is “independent.” Ironically, the bands that tend to fall into that genre are generally more well-known in the underground or “indie” scene by the people who seek out the music that isn’t played on Top 40 radio, which in a way actually makes them the mainstream of the underground. That can be a complement or not, but without getting too much into semantics or using any more quotations, let us highlight a band that doesn’t sound too much like any other band, mainstream or indie-mainstream, but does deserve to be more well-known for their musical substance and a great live show: Monophonics.
This psych/soul/heavy funk band from the Bay Area played Sullivan Hall Saturday night, and needless to say, their live show was heavy on the funk, the psych, but mostly on the soul. They were so heavy on the soul that singer and keyboardist Kelly Finnigan was drenched in sweat before the first song was over, since he sang and played with such fervor that couldn’t be contained. It was clear through his and the rest of the band’s performance that what was being communicated came from an honest and substantial place, because they were playing what they felt, and they couldn’t feel it any other way than what it was. In a nutshell, they weren’t fakin’ the funk.
Finnigan often played with one hand so he could gesture with the other, so passionately that at times I was sure he would just jump up from his seat and get completely caught up in the moment. Instead, he transferred that energy back into his lyrics and playing - banging hard on the keys and digging deep into his lungs. The rest of the band had their dig-deep moments as well, as everyone got a shout out introduction and had solos that they put their all into. Trumpeter Ryan Scott, saxophonist Alex Baky, bassist Myles O’Mahony, and drummer Austin Bohlman all had their place and their time to come through, but especially guitarist Ian McDonald, who really spiced up the psychedelic element and brought the straight up rock and roll with his licks. Just as importantly, whenever one of the guys had an impressive solo that had the whole crowd’s attention, the rest of the band provided the perfect amount of support; still exuding positive and honest energy without demanding divided attention. This is a band that takes the raw and real energy of some of the greatest funk and rock performers in history, and does it right while still making it their own. This is an independent band that should be seen and heard, because they’ll exude as much - if not more - energy every performance. They can’t do it any other way.