In Appreciation of From Monument to Masses

by Anton Patzner on August 24, 2010

It's your last chance to see and hear From Monument to Masses. Don't miss out!

I’m feeling very old this week, as two of my favorite Bay Area bands will be playing break-up shows in two nights. The first is my old band Audrye Sessions who will be saying goodbye on Friday, August 27th at The New Parish in Oakland. The second is From Monument to Masses who are playing final show at Great American Music Hall on Saturday, August 28th.  Since Judgement Day is opening up the Great American show, I thought it might nice for me to share some of my thoughts on the night’s headliners.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with this great band, here is a short history:

Over the course of their 10-year career From Monument to Masses released four politically charged post-rock albums on Dik Mak Records. Their long, slowly-shifting song structures and intricate guitar loops made them a perfect match for intelligent instrumental bands like Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai, but their drum beats also contained elements of hip-hop and drum-and-bass that could get even the most intellectual hipster to shake his ass on the dance floor.

Although instrumental, the group commanded a powerful voice by incorporating audio samples of speeches and lectures into their songs, and as a political band in the Bush era they spoke out strongly for human rights and against the war in Iraq. Their name “From Monument to Masses” represents the idea that change in history comes as a result of the actions of the masses, and not the actions of the individual leaders and messiahs for whom monuments are built.

From Monument to Masses has had an undeniable influence on many Bay Area musicians, including many of my friends. Eric Khun of Silian Rail has always been a big fan, saying “they have the intensity that I know and love from rock and punk rock, but with a lot of intricacy and subtlety to it.”  For me, going to see these guys at Bottom of the Hill back in the days when Judgement Day was still just playing on the street, they were band that made it cool to be an instrumental band.

This show see is a must-see for all fans and supporters of instrumental rock.

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Guest-writer Anton Patzner is a violinist, composer and arranger who is a founding member of Judgement Day, and has been featured on several major label and indie label records.

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