I’ve been getting into the same argument with people I see on a day to day basis as of late. When asked what I’m listening to at the moment I pull out ‘Fetch’, noise/punk/no wave/hardcore/rock duo MELT-BANANA’s latest album, which is half the time met with the comments “this is horrible”, “how can you call this music?”, and “my head hurts”. When I tell them that it’s the aggressive beat, head throb inducing pitch and the sheer carnage of the album that keeps it on the pile of most listened to albums so far this year, even I find myself wondering why it’s there. But like a burned-out 90’s club kid, I’m hooked, and it seems I’m not the only one.
Last month MELT-BANANA set a path of destruction across the UK with 13 shows around the country. Tucked away under the arches of Charing Cross station, the infamous lead girl YAKO and guitarist AGATA took to HEAVEN on May 28th for their first London appearance since 2010, a show that had everyone’s balls to the wall from the first note of a roller-coaster set. Despite being out of the limelight for nearly four years, as well as being down a drummer since they last took to the UK, the two still managed to pull off a raw sound that made it impossible to notice otherwise, filling the floor with plenty of bodies more than ready to start lobbing themselves around the room. Fetch provided a fresh batch of new tracks that sat comfortably in the set-list along with some of their best work from the last 22 years, and their famous collection of 8 short songs, most of which lasting anywhere between 3 and 20 seconds.
Energy stayed high throughout the entire gig- crowds were surfed and bodies were battered, but people were too ecstatic to care. An apt cover of Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World’ wrapped up the show perfectly, though we still wanted more, prompting one last encore. As the mob retired for the night, security was even congratulated on the way out for being “the coolest and most accommodating bouncers in London”. It started on a high and it certainly ended on one too. MELT-BANANA might have been out of the fray for a while now, but if they proved anything tonight, it’s that they still know how to blow your mind and have you picking your brain off the ceiling.
Words by Charles Shepherd