MONO made their last two albums with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio, so this Chicago gig isn't quite the once-in-a-blue-moon treat it might be if they'd recorded at home in Japan. All the same, it's great to have another chance to exper-ience this foursome's instrumental rock experiments live. The swelling guitar strains of last year's You Are There (Temporary Residence Limited) sound lush enough on disc, but watching the band so casually create such terrifyingly loud levels of distortion kicks the pleasure up to a whole new level.
Mono is touring with sound artist Katsuhiko Maeda, who goes by the name WORLD'S END GIRLFRIEND (or World's End Boyfriend, or Wonderland Falling Yesterday). His brand-new Hurtbreak Wonderland (Noble) is quixotic and mysterious, following its own labyrinthine logic through manipulated field recordings, walls of distortion, and eerie desertlike stretches of electronic minimalism. On Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain, Maeda's 2005 collaboration with Mono, the band's emo-leaning instrumental drama combines with the chill of his weird-science ways to create a haunting tension.
The Drift opens, World's End Girlfriend plays second, and Mono headlines. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $12.