From our first delightful encounter with Israeli cock-rockers Monotonix, in a trashy Texas dirtpit at a 2008 party called Fuck by Fuck You, we knew they were special. It was there that we first witnessed frontman Ami Shalev’s maniacal hijinks and first saw drummer Haggai Fershtman hoisted up into the air by the crowd, drum kit and all. When they came to New York the following month, it was hard not to enjoy the gaping mouths of unsuspecting Monotonix virgins at Union Hall, as Shalev did things like pretend-fellate himself with an elephant statue atop the bar, pour wax down his pants (also atop the bar), toss around the contents of the ice machine, and take a flying leap into a trash can. A week or so later, we reveled in their “hairy moonshot assclusive” at the Cake Shop, where Shalev tossed around drinks, dumped a trash can on Fershtman’s head (a signature Monotonix move), and slid the microphone between his butt cheeks. The next week we even took a tri-state road trip to Princeton University, to watch them grope co-eds and adjust bow ties.
By summers’ end, they were back in town, this time in Bushwick, crowd-surfing in a trash can. For the Panache CMJ showcase that October, they teamed up with Japan’s DMBQ for a super-sized four-person/two-drum-kit crowd-surf extravaganza (there was blood after this one). At Europa in 2009, Shalev hung from the rafters and joined Fershtman for some two-man somersaults. By this time, word of their live show had spread, and thousands turned out to experience “The Full-Tilt, Half-Naked Joys of Israeli Cock Rockers Monotonix” at the Voice‘s own Siren Festival.
But after a couple years of acrobatic, occasionally pyrotechnic shows like these, it’s not a surprise that they’d need “an extended break,” though they cite impending babies and other family stuff as their reason that their current U.S. tour will be their last for quite a while. Saturday night’s show in a Kent Avenue warehouse was the only New York City stop during this extended farewell — it was only right that we be there to witness it.