DJ Disco Phantom, Persian Claws, Swale, And The High Breaks At The Monkey House May 23, 2014

Words by Tim Lewis.

I had a great time seeing music last night. I met up with Nathan Curtis just after 9 and we headed to The Monkey House. We hung out for a bit then Persian Clawshit the stage. Their short, fast, ultra cheery songs about doom and despair, were tons of fun and got me dancing from the first note. They played most, if not all, of their album. They tossed in fun covers of Venus (Shocking Blue) and I just Wanna Have Something To Do (Ramones) and made them both sound like Claws songs. They closed the night with a rousing I Hate Being In Love and La Dee prowled the audience as she sang. It was a great set by a fun band and the small but appreciative audience had a great time.

After a reasonable time Swale, with Tyler Bolles on bass, walked to the stage dressed in white with shimmering capes. (Don’t tell Seven Days, they will probably think they are a prog rock band and slag them without listening). They settled behind the instruments and called up Bill Mullins JR to sing the first song. He did a great job on Roadrunner, and we were off. They went truly Karaoke for the second song by bringing Scotty to the stage. I’ve you’ve ever hung out at the Monkey House, You’ve probably seen him sitting at the stage end of the bar. I’ve chatted with him a couple of times and he seems like a nice guy. The band played a low-fi indie version of Summer Breeze and he sang it with heart. They had to prompt him on the changes, but they all made it work. It wasn’t great, but there was a nicely resonant tone in his voice, and the whole thing was light-hearted fun. His face just shone every time they went into the Summer Breeze makes me feel fine part. 

Things took a more serious tone when Ben McIntyre sang a deadpan vocal version of Perfect Day. After that, Amanda said the rest of the evening was going to rock hard. Paul Comegno led them through a very intense Now I Wanna Be Your Dog. Michael Nichols and his wife Elena Kurnosova did a wild version of Sabotage. After that they were looking for someone on the signup list but could not find them. Bill came back to the stage (Bill Mullins once, Bill Mullins twice). They were talking about doing I Wanna Be Sedated but then it changed and they ended up doing War Pigs. Bill sang it with a furious howl and it was great. Amanda prompted him for one line, but it was pretty stunning for such a last minute thing.

The whole night was really DJ Disco Phantom’s night and he invited all the bands and played songs before, after and between sets. He, a guy I did not know, and Isiah (who used to be a doorman at Radio Bean, but was a bartender at the Monkey that night, a new thing?) did a fun version of Empire State Of Mind. Swale followed with Isiah and a girl I did not know doing Paper Planes. They had to twist Ari Bolles arm a bit, but they got her to the stage for a fun version of Surrender. 

For the final song they pulled out something a bit more rehearsed. Matthew Bryan Hagen. took the stage, dressed in his High Breaks suit, and let loose a killer version of Holy Diver. His voice was not quite as deep as Dio’s but he nailed the inflections and sang it with power. Towards the end the song gets really slow, but instead of ending it, a couple of sharp guitar and keyboard notes signaled another song. Hagen kept his Dio voice going as they rocked through Eye Of The Tiger, and that was that.

During the Break, Nathan wanted to head out. I cajoled him into staying for a bit and The High Breaks hit the stage with a stylish look and rocking playing. The surf-rock instrumentals were fun, the band were super tight, and Hagen’s lead playing was smooth and powerful. I made it for several songs before the length of the day caught up with me. I wanted to stay for the last note, but just didn’t have anything left. I caught a ride home with Nathan and was fast asleep shortly after. What a great night of music!!

This post was originally published by Tim Lewis at his personal blog,