Mona, Shepherds Bush Empire, 28 October 2011

Mona’s career sounds like a fairy tale. Both hailed and mocked as the New Kings Of Leon thanks to their rough and honest rock’n’roll made in Nashville, in less than a year Mona have progressed from being one of MTV’s Brand New for 2011 Acts selling out such important venues as Shepherds Bush Empire.

They are a band whose potential is so immense and whose confidence so ridiculously big that they make this date in West London not only one of the hottest tickets of the season, but a definite ‘I was there’ moment. The gig was perfect, the crowd enthusiastic and the band technically impeccable.

Singer Nick Brown’s voice was so powerful and intense that it could be considered the highlight of the show.

So far Mona have released only a self-titled  debut and a bunch of demos, which is why their performance didn’t start until 9.45pm. However their rock’n’roll show offered a little bit of everything, from brand new songs  to tease the crowd to a proper Johnny Cash tribute and a breathtaking cover of Zombies by The Cranberries.

And in between songs were Nick Brown’s tales of sweat, tears and pride at how he had once passed through this very venue and promised himself he would play here one day.

But ultimately we’ve got the songs: anthems this audience of people who suffer, swear, make mistakes and fight for their right to love and be loved can relate to. The outstanding acoustic version of Trouble on The Way is sung in unison by a hyperactive crowd – just one of a raft of simple rock songs which tonight sound massive. Others like Listen To Your Love and the final Lean Into The Fall are already instant classics.

A review should be objective and as impartial as possible, but it’s hard not to be carried away by these debutants after what is undoubtedly one of the best shows of their career so far.

No matter how intricate and painful your relationship is, or how angry with the whole world you are, next time save some quid to see  Mona. You won’t be happier or relieved, but you will have someone on your side.

By SiIvia Rucchin


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