Last night (March 23), we made our first visit to the Monarch in San Francisco. The opening band was Grayshot and the headliner was Citizen!
Reviewing the venue first, the Monarch definitely has its own personality, which we found appealing, and has a staff that is friendly and efficient. From the person checking IDs at the door to the people explaining we were in an area in which we didn’t belong, the staff carried a smile that certainly appeared genuine. Still, if you place even a small amount of importance on punctuality, carefully consider any decision to go to the Monarch. All of the information leading to last night’s show was consistent with the above banner, which indicates a 9:00 show time. When we arrived shortly before 9:00, the bands seemed nearly ready, but it was clear the venue had no intention of beginning the show on schedule. Grayshot started at 11:00.
The Monarch is a multi-functional venue. Upstairs, a wall with a large circular opening separates the bar area from a DJ/dance room. Downstairs has another bar, a DJ booth, floor space for approximately 100 people, and the stage for the bands. A nice touch to the downstairs area is a recessed area next to the stage, with ottomans that accommodate about 15 people. Importantly, the sound system is more than powerful enough for the room.
Grayshot is a Minnesota trio that includes two brothers (Aaron and Christian Anksum) and their friend (Reese Kling). Because the concert goers had been given a two-hour head start on alcohol consumption, there were some potentially disruptive (over friendly - not belligerent) individuals. But the band members were unaffected. There was some banter with the crowd, but it was all positive. The mixing was off at times. Still, Grayshot put on a good show.
“Future Light” by Grayshot
“Future Light” by Grayshot
Citizens! started their set with “Caroline.” It’s probably the best choice, because the repeated reference to “never made any sense” creates an easy familiarity that allows members of the crowd to get engaged from the very first song. I would have predicted that “True Romance” would end their setlist, but would have been wrong. The final two songs were “True Romance” and “(I’m in Love with Your) Girlfriend.” Our best recollection is that the setlist was:
3. “Let's Go All the Way”
4. “Love You More”
5. “Nobody's Fool”
6. “She Said”
8. ‘Missing (a cover song from Everything but the Girl)”
9. “True Romance’
10. “(I'm in Love with Your) Girlfriend”
Citizens! is based in London. The five members are Tom Burke (vocals), Thom Rhoades (guitar and vocals), Martyn Richmond (bass), Lawrence Diamond (keyboards) and Mike Evans (drums and vocals).