September 1st, 2015
Japan’s Melt Banana swung through Madison earlier this summer for a gig at the High Noon Saloon.
I first heard of them a few years ago and they were referred to as being a punk band but, after listening to this performance, it’s quite obvious that they’re much more than that. There’s punk to be had here – just listen to their hardcore take on Devo’s “Uncontrollable Urge” – but there’s also thrash, noise rock, industrial, melodic pop, and other sub-genres unbeknownst to me thrown in for good measure.
The band was formed in 1992 by singer Yasuko Onuki who soon recruited guitarist Ichirou Agata to the cause. They apparently had a bass player at some point and have performed with a whole host of drummers. However, this summer’s tour featured only Onuki and Agata with bass and drum duties given over to a laptop. I’d imagine that there are certain limitations when your rhythm section is a MacBook but Melt Banana don’t seem particularly interested in improvisation. Instead they are keen to pack their short, concise songs with as much maniacal energy as they can.
Here they are from the High Noon Saloon here in Madison on 15 July.
Lie Lied Lies
Lefty Dog (Run, Caper, Run)
Chain-Shot to Have Some Fun
Cat Brain Land
Cracked Plaster Cast
Schemes of the Tails
Halo of Sorrow
My Missing Link
Blank Page of the Blind
Here’s the band doing a couple of cover songs about two weeks after their Madison show out in Long Beach, California on 30 July. “Monkey Man” by oots & the Maytals is followed by “Uncontrollable Urge”.