At one point I seem to remember Monomania were going to be the next big thing in town, with odd songs about amorous goths and "BHS Escalator fear" (which I think we could all identify with!) and a single on Ugly Man which sold pretty well locally. A year or so and a line-up shuffle later, they crept back onto the scene quietly via Chairsmissing and a disastrous night at the Roadhouse the Friday before Christmas where 95% of the potential audience had been scared off by a preceding band so utterly dreadful my delicate mind has blanked out all the details.
So as troops descended on Iraq for the start of a war that could change the face of the world, it's kind of reasuring to know some things haven't changed. Monomania still start their set with "Sofabed", and Ricky still writes songs about things other people don't think to. Oh, and in a city that's so proud of its music scene (and packed full of students) the number of people willing to venture out up Deansgate on a foggy night to watch some live bands is slightly shameful.
Anyway the sound's harder and tighter than the old line-up, with bassist Alex's bouncy riffs and backing vocals lifting it well above your average two-guitar-bass-drums-by-numbers (not to mention cheekbones that could see him up there with the pouty one from Interpol on the bedroom walls of sixth-form indie girls!)
However it was Ricky's rather sideways take on everyday life that first pushed Monomania above the crowd, and I'm pleased to report that it's not only still there, but if anything it's even more skewed. Tonight's set list takes in variously "a song about hedgehogs" and one which ends in Ricky and Alex screaming "Give me antihistamines!" and sounding about as level-headed as Mark E.Smith. Elsewhere he shouts about dropping sprogs ("She had a baby / She had twins / She had triplets!") over a two minute Wedding-Present-in-Steve-Albini-period type thrash, and there's possibly the first ever indie-rock tune to feature cat abuse as its main subject matter (preceded by an insinuation about a certain local media legend and recently sacked newsreader which I'd better not repeat here for legal reasons!)
Monomania played a blistering set to a largely empty space. I'd never really thought of 42nd Street as a gig venue before but it actually works quite well - just get a few posters up next time!