LIVE: The Psychotic Monks – The Crescent, York, 04/10/2023

With a name like The Psychotic Monks, you wouldn’t be rolling up to one of their shows hoping for an evening of light entertainment. And the two score and ten hardy souls who are at the Crescent tonight have their expectations fully and irreparably met as the four-piece from Paris, France tear into their set as if tomorrow will somehow never come.

“I Wanna Dance with You” howls bass guitarist Paul Dussaux over a discordant sea of analogue synth, guitar, and drums. His request could never be mistaken for country artist Eddie Rabbitt’s 1988 toe-tapper of the same name. The Psychotic Monks do not deal in convention. Their currency is melted down from the industrial strength metals of the avant-garde, the exploratory, and the downright far out there. It may not be easy listening, but it is utterly compelling.

The Psychotic Monks


Having recently played their first-ever shows in North America, The Psychotic Monks are now exactly halfway through a five-date jaunt of England before they head back over the Channel to their home country. On this evidence alone, travel is not only broadening their horizons, but it is also increasing their gravitational pull towards a rather extreme form of esoteric experimentalism. Having tapped into a sound that straddles Stockhausen and the subversive, music they create whilst not entirely detached from its disintegrating pop moorings does continue to shift further and further away from the mainstream

Set up in front of the stage, with their backs to it, knee-deep in their instrumentation, a phalanx of guitar pedals and a lone trumpet, The Psychotic Monks are encircled as if at their very own private Alamo. Here they take their last stand before heading down the motorway to South Yorkshire. And from deep within this siege their music emerges, defiantly resistant, railing against discrimination, marginalisation, and sexual violence, magnified by singer and guitarist Artie having recently come out as a transgender woman.   

Amid this maelstrom of noise ‘A Coherent Appearance’ – taken from the band’s second album, 2019’s Private Meaning First – digs even deeper into a seam of archival sound, a thunderous post-rock, combative groove. And the concluding ‘location.memory’ – the penultimate track on their most recent album, Pink Colour Surgery – with its muted vocals, martial rhythms and interpretative composition moves The Psychotic Monks into another musical orbit altogether.

Photos: Simon Godley

More photos from The Psychotic Monks at The Crescent, York

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