Archives for category: Melt Banana

I’m jumping around like fuck to this:

(First posted on http://www.recessiondodgetovictory.wordpress.com on 04/03/2013)

Disclaimer: As with all my music reviews, this is a blow-by-blow account taken from my own perspective and written mostly for myself as a memory aid. I’m not always an expert on the band in question.

After the set-long wait of Envy and relaxing to their melodies as the sun went down, I was pretty tired and a little irritable for Melt-Banana. The sound check was about thirty minutes in length and throughout the first ten of those the crowd around me seemed pretty buzzed with lots of banter in both English and Japanese floating amongst the tightly-packed crowdwhich I’d secured a place in about two rows from the front.

Then things took a turn for the worse as one of the security staff asked the crowd to move in so they could pack more folks into the aforementioned shed. The excitement soon turned into an atmosphere of worry about friends being together and concern for appropriateness of strangers being so close together. I gained an appreciation for slaughterhouse cows there as I closed my eyes and thought of Scotland and just let everything happen around me.

I had a good idea of what kind of show Melt-Banana were going to play without having heard them before since I had heard of them through their affiliates and influences including The Locust and Mike Patton and his myriad of side projects. Stuck in this packed shed, things were about to get crazy…

All the lights went out and two band members popped out of the stage end of the shed with mini-torches attached to their heads to see their instruments as they played, resembling DJs. The music they played did too with lots of beats, bass and no guitar or drums, all of which was played under the off-beat, jarring yells and screeches of the vocalist. I found out later that this is what the band themselves would refer to as ‘Melt-Banana Lite’.

And it sure set the crowd off. One person started jumping and then there was no holding back; we all did. Any movement started a chain reaction amongst the seething crowd, which in turn would create an opposite reaction, but Einstein it wasn’t. Like a sea, small Japanese ladies and tall Western men – all swayed to and fro.

It was kind of fun actually. It felt communal and the music was so random you couldn’t really take it too seriously. That and each song lasted anything from perhaps 30 seconds to 2 minutes in total. By the time the sea of people calmed down, the band had started back up again, which kept us all simmering along nicely.

Then the other 2 members came out, a drummer and I think a bassist, though I’d need to double-check that. It was then that we got a taste of some full flavour Banana.

The crowd started to properly pit as the seething mass of people was punctuated by rapid drumming. Fistpumping and headbanging ensued, meaning the crowd gave way to chaos as rapid movement from one end of the room echoed, pushing the other side to breaking point. The random “What the fuck am I dancing to?” element was still there though so you could see these big, clown-like smiles on the crowd when the minimalist light hit their faces. As they hit into others. As they hit into me.

“Over and over and over,

Should dodges shoulder dodges shoulder

Dodges fist.”

And that was the point me become big gaijin. Me gots angry and me throw people. Me use big weight. Me see small, puny lady. Me grin and shove. She run away. Me not stop pushing small man. Then he fall over. Me clears pit. Me strongest. Me dance and push, dance and push and dance.

Me gots pat on shoulder, that tell-tale post mosh-pit pat on the shoulder that says “Woah dude!” and I realised then that I was a little too big to party with the hipster and art crowd. I took my place at the side of the pit to try and haul people out and still be able to see pitters coming so they didn’t rile me up again with their constant banging into my back. That line I read from the event booklet I received at the start, “We mean it, don’t be an asshole,” came back to me as little startled faces viewed on from the pitside.

That was when I started to really enjoy the show and ended up using my size to help others out, like when I saw a guy getting crashed into for the millionth time and offered to take his place, so he in turn could enjoy the show. I also think that that was when people who had had enough of the tight confines had left, as the crowd seemed to open up after that and we could actually get our boogie on without accidentally molesting other people with stray hands.

In summary, and having now heard some of their records, Melt-Banana are definitely a live, party band – how could they not be? I don’t get nearly as much from them on tape as I did at the show but with that said, they can only ever be as good as your party. Some people might enjoy being tightly packed into a shed with strangers to see Melt Banana, but unless said people are willing to also feel the full brunt of a 250lb+ Scotsman headbanging and going nuts to an equally mental band, they too should show some restraint.

But whatever. For the most part, when I wasn’t feeling remorse about crushing an entire moshpit full of hipsters and little ladies, I enjoyed myself.

Organisers please take notes on the health and safety issues of putting Melt-Banana in a 300 capacity shed.