Melt-Banana, Cutty’s Gym at Mono, 22/5/2014

The night starts with Cutty’s Gym, a mathy post-rock duo of impressive technical ability.

Dynamics and textures crystallise and dissipate, riffs stab and paradiddles diddle, time signatures shifting and guitar lines weaving through expert loop pedal work.

It’s all highly impressive, although a bit too cerebral in comparison to things to come, lacking the vitality, obscenity and insanity of Melt-Banana’s immanent performance.

Japanese legends Melt-Banana are a sublime mesh of contradictions, ludicrously uplifting enthusiasm meets nihilistic noise, experimental tech-manipulation plus punk DIY spirit, ‘happy hardcore’ in an entirely different sense of the word, although there’s maybe a residue of the original revved-up techno terminology given the pre-programmed drum beats of their current vox/guitar line-up.

They embody the Japanese image of rampant and ever-accelerating futurism, creating a disorientating synathsesia-enducing maelstrom that overflows with intelligence, humour, eclecticism and infectious hyperactivity.

And the crowd are well up for it, instantly leaping into action and subsequently slam dancing their way to oblivion, grins plastered across each and every face.

The set only slows down once when someone jumps on stage and knocks into the laptop, bringing the beats to a juddering stop, but within seconds things return to the previous course towards singularity-educing super speed.

Things finish off with that age-old rock encore tradition, the genre-swapped-cover, which in this case is ‘What a Wonderful World’, and as long as Melt-Banana keeps doing what they do, it most certainly is.

Words: CR Sanderson

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