THERE ARE MANY THINGS that make each Monkey Trick show beautifully uncomfortable—and different incidents each time. A Jesus Lizard cover band the likes of which you've never seen (unless, of course, you've seen them), Monkey Trick dazzles and disgusts with its painfully real portrayal of a band some of us will never forget—making for a spectacle you can't burn from your mind with a fifth of whiskey.
In the lead for never, ever forgetting the Jesus Lizard is Monkey Trick frontman Trevor Solomon, who refuses to stop channeling the Lizard's frontman David Yow at least once a year. This is a tradition that started in Portland on Solomon's birthday, when he couldn't think of anything more rock to do than belt out the aggro noise-core of the Lizard. At that inaugural show at Berbati's, Solomon's wily stage antics included violently ripping the cord out of the guitar player's amp on the first note of the first song. A great beginning. The tradition continued the following year in Seattle, at the show Solomon remembers as Monkey Trick's worst, even though he did strip down to his birthday suit. He recalls: "In Seattle all the crowd did was look at us and say and do nothing. The reason I got naked was a friend of Yow's was at the show feeding me whiskey, so by the time I got on stage and dealt with the people of Seattle, I think the booze, their reaction, and my inner child made me show them my goods. Not that they really deserved to see them."
See, much as was the case with Jesus Lizard, even Monkey Trick's worst shows are full of wonderful surprises.
Last year's Monkey Trick performance was, likewise, good, bad, and everything in between. While on stage, Solomon got hammered, ripped his shirt off, doused himself in whiskey, and had the admirable audacity to body surf the crowd. At the other end of the stage the Trick's bass man, Eli Johnson, blew out his amplifier, got upset, and promptly drank an entire bottle of Jack Daniels, eventually having to be carried to a cab (with the help of yours truly)—a poetic ending to the evening. Lord only knows what will happen this year... Hopefully we all get out alive.