Monks - March27, 1999 Instant Karma, Houston TX
By HotBands Editor Pat Ferris
I was referred to see this band through the Houston music grapevine. The word was that the rhythm section (brothers Rozz and Roland Zamorano) were the hottest thing in town as far as a groove went, so I checked out their website at www.fonduemonks.com contacted them and set up a date to catch them live.
The club itself was kind of alternative, tatooed babes, pierced eyebrows, leather... the first band named "Liquid" I caught the last 10 minutes of. I was wondering if I was the only one that could hear that the sound sucked totally, and that you couldn't even hear the vocals. I looked around to see who was running their sound...thinking they must be running it from the stage but don't realize how bad it sounded out front. When I finally saw the soundman, he was sound asleep, and oblivious to the mix, so I stomached through the last song.
The second band was called "Galapagos" from Austin that shared double billing with Fondue Monks to help promote them in future Austin gigs. This band was pretty cool. The vocals again got buried in the mix (what was that sound man smoking?) but the music itself was killer. Very fusion-jazz oriented, and their cover of "Josie" by Steely Dan allows me to say they sound something like Steely Dan without sounding cliche. I would bill Galapagos as a jazz act before I would bill them as a rock act.
Finally, the Fondue Monks took the stage. By this time, I was felling pretty good with a couple of Newcastle Ales in me, and when they kicked off their groove, I was indeed impressed. The sound mix was really having trouble tonite, so being critical of the vocals is pointless since I couldn't hear any lyrics and could only get the suggestion of tone occaisionally. Despite that, Steve Olson's rhythm and singer Denver Courtney's vocals blended well with the rock solid grooves set down by the Zamorano brothers. Rozz is really a monster on the bass...one of the best bass players I've seen in the past 5 years. If you're into funky fast furious white-boy rap rock...these guys are a fun band, a great bunch of guys (personally) and a lot of fun to watch. Good band to watch experiment with their sounds as their CD's progress and mature.