I think it is safe to say that some faces melted Saturday night at Pink Noise in Futako Tamagawa. Fans threw up their hands and banged their heads to the cacophony of noisy punk and sonic melting known as Melt-Banana.
Front woman Yako screamed and ranted undecipherable lyrics over heavy distorted sounds, which made the whole experience feel like an ass kicking. It was a frenzied ride of frantic banging and slamming that some people like to call noisecore.
In my opinion, guitarist Agata was really at the front of the band. His face was covered with a surgeon's mask, and although it's possible he just has allergies (people in Japan will wear these masks), I hear it is because of nosebleeds. Maybe it's to let us know that a doctor of sound is on stage. I've never heard a guitar sound like his. Squeals and statics, electronic pings and pops, laser beams, stalagmites of distorted whizbangs, I thought my head was going to explode. Of course such talent couldn't pass under the radar of contemporary jazz guru John Zorn. Agata's solo album Spike was released on Tzadik records. Another interesting note is that all of Melt-Banana's recordings were recorded in lo-fi due to Agata's request. Apparently the rest of the band has decided that they must switch over to hi-fi, so their most recent studio albums have been recorded in hi-fi.
As far as Melt-Banana's live show, you really have to be there to understand it.
Melt-Banana live at Pink Noise in Futako Tamagawa, Tokyo 4/28/07
Melt-Banana recently released a new album called Bambi's Delight. They also wrote a song for Perfect Hair Forever, a TV show on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. They have a US tour lined up to promote their new album.
I think that Melt-Banana is more popular in the US than in Tokyo. They seem to be one of the bands from Tokyo that has broken into the music community of the US and experienced success. Many Westerners have heard of Melt-Banana, but their fame does not seem to be as widespread among Japanese people. This has been a common theme with the Tokyo music scene. You would think that any band that has experienced success abroad must be famous in their hometown. It has been my experience that this is not the case with many Tokyo bands. I'm not ready to give my opinion on why this is happening, but I think it is a crucial point for my project.
Tokyo's shy audiences and Melt-Banana live at Pink Noise, Tokyo