Friday, 4 December 2009

Show Review: Sunday Nov. 29, 2009: Melt-Banana

So I hadn't been to a show in a few months (since summer, due to being in Bowling Green and there never being any good shows here). And I missed a Converge show yet again, which also had Mastodon and High On Fire on the bill, so it was a real loss there. And Kylesa also recently came through my neighborhood with Saviours, but alas, it was not possible for me to attend. Bummer. Luckily, there exists a magical time in the year of the college student: Thanksgiving break. I used this opportunity to catch a rock and roll show at one of the usual haunts. I characterized it as the most odd/weird/bizarre show I've seen, which in English means I had a good time.

I arrived far too early. The show supposedly began at 9:00pm, but it did not actually start until quarter to 10 for reasons I cannot possibly understand or guess. First on the bill was a Cleveland band called Jerk, who were actually playing for only the 4th time this year. I couldn't say whether or not that effected their performance, but they sounded pretty awesome by my standards. It was extreme abstract noise with really harsh vocals (don't remember if they were scream-y or growl-y). I found it interesting that the vocalist also smashed a drum cymbal against the floor. He did some supplemental percussion on a tom-tom as well. It was a real frenzy of noise, but it sounded really neat and had structure to it. I wouldn't mind seeing this band again. I wish the set was longer than like, 20 minutes, though.

Next was another local group called Clan Of The Bear Cave. I had listened to a few of their songs online prior to going to the show and I liked what I heard, but their performance just didn't resonnate with me. It was all loud all the time and the songs were just so fractured that it was hard to get a grip on them. The musicians seemed to be talented performers, but they could use some lessons in composition. I like their genre/style, quite reminiscent of Hella and certainly Orthrelm, but the pieces didn't excite me much.

At this point, I could barely hear anything, due to my not having earplugs and COTBC being insanely loud.

Nonethless, things continuted with the Deathers, who played for approximately 12 minutes. I sat this one out, listening from afar. The crowd seemed to enjoy this set, but I wasn't too intrigued with their sound. It sounded mostly like standard, though a bit noisy, hardcore punk, no frills whatsoever. I seem to remember the vocalist saying something to the extent of "we managed to get through whatever song that was," after the second or third tune, which gave me a chuckle. Luckily, it was a brief set.

And to the main event of the night: punky Japanoiz(zz)e superstars Melt-Banana. The set starts with all the lights off and the band wearing flashing lights on their foreheads, unleashing harsh, loud noisy goodness on all the suspecting audience members (this would have been cooler if people weren't taking pictures the whole time). This goes on for about 10 minutes and then the lights are turned on and we get to the meat and potatoes of the set, which is decidedly more light-heated. The band was energetic and never lost momentum, plowing through what I assume was all the hits from their lastest jamfest, Bambi's Dilemma, and perhaps some tunes from earlier records. I recognized not one song from the set. Let me frame that by saying that I only owned 1995's Scratch Or Stitch before the show (I did pick up Bambi and Cell-Scape after the set). They played an encore of two covers, one was some song by the Police and I didn't catch the other, though someone requested Queen (that would have ruled).

Overall, a good way to spend an evening and I anticipate digging deeper into M-B's back catalogue.

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