There are only so many shows where you would be content to pull up a chair, sit back, relax and absorb the music. MONO is one of them, and that’s exactly what I did on Sunday evening at Hong Kong’s This Town Needs.

Celebrating their 20-year anniversary and touring their latest gem of a record, Nowhere Now Here, the Japanese heavyweights have their live sound down to an art form. MONO really hammer home their moniker live with minimal chat time; this is in fact the first time I’ve ever heard a band member speak and I’ve seen them three times. Yet, this doesn’t detract from the experience.

It’s all about the sound. Those slow build-ups and sudden barrages of noise, which in a live setting have a startling effect; yes, I jumped. There’s a reason MONO are a household name in the scene and it’s the sense of finesse they bring to their vast soundscapes which tread the line between gratuitously heavy and delicate. Chugging through ‘After You Comes The Flood’ a wall of sound builds and lead guitarist Takaakira Goto is adept at controlling this, even using his mouth to play as he manoeuvres his instrument, and as suddenly as it was there, it’s all gone. Perfect silence. This cleanliness is more defined in MONO’s live performances than most others under the post-rock label and leaves you reeling.

On stage they’re an intense bunch, and whether sitting or standing they manage to use their hair as a second instrument, whipping it back and forth with the rhythm. Under stage lights it often looks as if they’re moving in slow motion and this only enhances the experience.

Their audience is accustomed to their stoicism, though when those few precious words come before an encore of their classic ‘Ashes in the Snow’ the audience returns the favour with the protest chants that have filled Hong Kong for the past 15 weeks now. Even as I leave the voices resonate. This is a testament to how MONO’s ‘voiceless’ music is anything but.