Japanese Noise Rock power house Melt-Banana are back again touring the UK, and we got the opportunity to catch up with them in Manchester. Filling in the opening slots for the night are local bands Slap Rash and Binge.
First up are Slap Rash. This duo’s stripped back, raw punk sound kick starts the noisy evening perfectly. They tear through their set with everything they’ve got, the bass-centric sound blends well with the synth inserts provide by bassist Huw, and the sharp punk shouts of vocalist/drummer Amelia cuts through the music perfectly. With just a couple releases currently available, this band is definitely one to keep an eye on in the future.
After that explosive opener, it is time for Binge to take to the stage. As the house lights are lowered the band’s on-stage projector set up illuminates the two members. Awash in colorful psychedelic imagery, the white track-suited, balaclava clad duo break straight into their own brand of noisy instrumental madness. I believe the band put it best when they describe themselves on their socials as ‘Meaty Mancunian Math‘. This really is a perfect descriptor as the sound they bring jumps effortlessly from the chunkiest of punk/metal riffs to the deft guitar noodling of math rock, but all played with a non-stop driving force which leaves you enjoyably exhausted when the set regrettable comes to a close. It also feels like someone had some fun with the volume dial on this one because boy is it loud!
And finally, with ears still ringing it was time for the main event of the evening. Melt-Banana are by now a staple of the Noise Rock genre, formed back in 1992 they have toured relentlessly over the years, honing their craft and gaining a dedicated cult following. Existing as a two piece since around 2012, it is hard to define the curious sound that Melt-Banana create, hardcore-experimental-j-pop-punk…noise with a heavy pop-culture influence just about covers it. Despite the unconventional collision of sounds, it’s undeniable that Melt-Banana have crafted something wholly unique, it’s fast and aggressive, with parts as catchy as the next chart topping pop hit. Their presence on stage matches their music, guitarist Agata doesn’t stop moving all set, fingers fly up and down the frets and feet stomp or tweak one of any combination of effects pedals arrayed in front of him. Yako, the band’s vocalist, cries out lyrics at break neck speed, and orchestrates the rest of the band’s sound through the use of a wireless MIDI controller to trigger a series of loops and backing tracks. These backing tracks are fed through a small wall of amps that helps to solidify the band’s incredible live performance.