November 16th, 2010 | Live reviews

On Saturday, November 6th, 2010, The Monolators put together a silver and ruby gala at Perhspace in Echo Park to celebrate the release of their double EP, Silver Cites/Ruby I’m Changing My Number. The stage area was decorated with string lights and cloudy fabric, creating a dreamy look, while a spread fit for prom kings and queens was set up with punch and snacks. Opening up the show was Hot TV, three guys, a girl, and maybe a pizza place or, in Echo Park’s case, a taco truck. Their fun breezy sound reminded me of The Penguins meets Vampire Weekend. Second up was a band called BoxViolet. I’ve been watching and listening to BoxViolet for about four years now. They are one of the kindest, hard-working local bands. Normally seen as a two piece, Margot Paige & Luke Ehret have a unique dark pop rock sound, usually with Paige on guitar and Ehret on drums. While different line-ups have manifested over time, tonight was the night. Having a cute redhead on keys and Sean Johnson of Shirley Rolls and The Damselles (who I consider one of the top ten drummers in Los Angeles) freed up Ehret to the front of the stage to join Paige on guitar. They played a nice, lengthy set getting friends and fans ready for the stars of the gala, the Monolators.

Pehrspace was packed at this point. The formal-dressed Monolators took the stage and pleased everyone alternating songs from their two EPs. The Monolators are a good mix of psychedelic indie power pop. Front man Eli Chartkoff sings freely and interacts with fans in the crowd, running around, causing a healthy ruckus. Drummer and wife Mary Chartkoff is the first woman I’ve ever seen drum in a formal gown. It was amazing to watch her. Jillinda Palmer on keys (also of The Damselles) held down the melodies and sang back-up while sparkling in a glittery ruby dress. A trait I like about bass player Ashley Jex is that whenever I go to watch the Monolators I can always hear “her.” Always. She’s a great bass player. You can see she’s deeply into the performance and you can hear what you see. Lead guitarist Ray Gurrola is a great match for Eli. Eli Chartkoff likes to run around, jump off amps, kick drums, and leap into the crowd. When that happens, his guitar or mic usually gets unplugged and everyone else in the band keeps it going until Eli gets back in there. Complimenting each other really well, along with great songwriting, the Monolators are ready to take the world by storm. At the end of their set, everyone was cheering for an encore so they performed “Let’s Be Best Friends In Space.” It was so awesome, I think I’ll be their friend anywhere they go. I’d be best friends with them in the supermarket.

Closing up the show was the Tleilaxu Music Machine. A solo artist performing to original pre-recorded music, he added keys and vocals live. He was very different from all the indie rock my ears and eyes just digested but I enjoyed it. The room cleared out. There were about 15 people watching this guy with dreads, who resembled a dirty modern hippie, rock his brain out of his skull. While his music felt a little aggressive, I joined the party dancing to his beats. Everyone in there was having a good time. His music was great but things got peculiar and a little too performance-piece for my taste. The Tleilaxu Music Machine began rolling on the ground, then the walls, then he rolled under the sound booth, back up to the wall, rolled over Perhspace curator Pauline Lay who was sitting in a chair against the wall, then continued to roll along the wall, knocked into some chairs, one that had my coat and purse on it, and continued to roll back on the floor to the stage. Seeing my belongings get knocked over and smushed in slow motion was about all the rave rage I could muster.

Rebecca Balin