Melt-Banana at Bodega, Nottingham, October 29, 2019 | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Melt-Banana at Bodega, Nottingham, October 29th, 2019

Nov 06, 2019 Melt-Banana
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It’s 18 years to the month since Melt-Banana first graced the Bodega stage, and while a few things have changed since then, their insatiable, genre transcending sonic collision hasn’t subsided one iota.

Back then, the Tokyo based noise merchants were a four-piece. They were a colossal sight for anyone unaccustomed to such experimental wares, and one who’ve lived long in the memory since. Indeed, Nottingham has been a regular vantage point on Melt-Banana’s previous UK jaunts, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that tonight’s show is a sold out affair in advance of doors opening.

Nowadays a duo, with founders Yako and Agata the only remaining members having become a two-piece prior to the release of their last album Fetch back in 2013. In theory it shouldn’t work, yet technically it’s arguably the most efficient and dynamic performance Melt-Banana have unleashed on this fair city.

Controlling pre-programmed beats on a laptop from a handheld console, Yako is a formidable presence. Delivering her fever pitched vocals in a way that’s one part Nic Endo from techno noise futurists Atari Teenage Riot, and another Eve Libertine of first wave anarcho punks Crass. Yako provides the perfect foil to Agata’s appetizingly voracious range of riffs. Think Van Halen, Napalm Death, or A Place to Bury Strangers competing for amp space in one room and you’re halfway there. Together they’re a relentless force that doesn’t let up for the next hour.

In that time, a mammoth 23 piecescall them songs if you likeare despatched with a precision and energy that results in a heaving mass of sweaty bodies out front. Squalling opener “Feedback Deficiency” kickstarts a set that spans their entire 27-year career, it’s to the duo’s credit that they can still bewilder, confound, and surpass expectations.

“Scrubber” off 1994’s debut Speak Squeak Creak still sounds as brutal as it did when first introduced to an unsuspecting audience a quarter of a century ago. While “The Hive” and “Vertigo Game”both given an airing in the opening part of the setably demonstrate why their aforementioned tenth and most recent long player was heralded as one of Melt-Banana’s finest collections to date. “Blank Page of the Blind” off 2007’s Bambi’s Dilemma also sets pulses racing as does a high octane cover of The Damned’s “Neat Neat Neat,” thrown in for good measure and unsurprisingly, a major crowd pleaser to boot.

By the end, it’s clear Melt-Banana have struck a chord for the much-maligned two-piece. They are a visceral antidote to Royal Blood’s recycled posturing and far more animated than Slaves even after nearly three decades of performing. Always exciting and astonishingly invigorating, Melt-Banana are still one of the most refreshing live acts on the planet

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