I woke up Sunday brimming with excitement for this show, with the beautiful day and sun rays beaming down adding to it, almost as if to say, “Hey, here’s a nice day to go with the groovy music you’re about to see.” No complaints there.
Arriving at Club Soda with Liz (the brains behind Bucketlist Music Reviews), I did have a qualm with being held up in line, eventually making it inside but missing half of Melt-Banana’s set. They only had half an hour, so it was shitty not getting to take it all in.
I really dug what I did manage to witness. Hailing from Tokyo, Japan, Melt-Banana have been around since the early 90s. Admittedly, when I first heard this experimental grindcore noise act the first time, it wasn’t my kind of thing…but seeing them live was somethin’ else, man! On stage there was no drummer or bassist, only vocalist Yako and guitarist Agata. Yako was a delightful ball of energy and high-pitched vocals, and was holding what looked like a Nintendo DS from my vantage point (when speaking with her later I learned it was what she used to add in drums, bass, and other effects). Agata shredded the shit out of his guitar, adding in trippy effects as well, and the duo made me think, “Who needs extra members?!” These guys were fucking interesting live, and I hope to catch a full set another time, dammit.
Next up: THE Melvins. I exaggerate ‘the’ because these cats are legendary, and phenomenal live. This was my second time seeing them, and they did not disappoint. With King Buzzo (vocals/guitar) adorning the stage with his shiny silver attire, Steve McDonald on bass, and Dale Crover on drums (which had a Sylvester the Cat stuffed animal attached to it), they got right into it, opening with “Eye Flys.” I reckon the sold-out, packed house was instantly in a trance. The Melvins sound is utterly hypnotic live, with Buzz shredding on his turquoise guitar and busting out bellows that make one’s hair stand on end, Steve throwing out air-kicks while playing some sweet bass that shone outward (smiles all around; this guy was just having so much fun up there!), and Dale hitting those skins so hard my vagina could feel the punches. From start to finish, they were mad tight. They didn’t say much to crowd, but fuck it – they didn’t have to, we knew what was up. They went on to play tracks “Revolve” and “Queen” among many others, and threw in a bunch of covers too, including “Deuce” by Kiss, and a couple of Alice Cooper songs, “Second Coming” and “Halo of Flies.” I simply and literally do not have enough words to describe how epic these guys are live. All I can say is, if they come to your town, do not miss them if you love your shit heavy and intense. The closing song was an acapella rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” sung by the drummer with a simple “Thanks n’ goodnight.” Of course, I have to mention that I had the honor of meeting Buzz Osborne with Liz for an interview you’ll be able to see soon, so keep yer eyes peeled on our YouTube channel for that!
Finally, grindcore grandfathers Napalm Death hit the stage. This was my first time seeing them live, and I humbly admit to only really getting into them in the past few years…and they were just incredible live. Man, how do I sum this up in the few words I have left?! Ok, here goes: they’re a brutal delight, seeming like guys who know how to have fun and not come off as dark tortured souls, yet who are poignant and deep. They played a slew of tracks, far too many to mention here, including “Suffer The Children” and “Conform.” They also played the approximately two-second long crowd favourite “You Suffer,” which they played around three or four times, getting some good laughs. A track off their new album titled “Dear Slumlord” spoke to me, which vocalist Mark “Barney” Greenway said was simply about “shitty fucking housing” (I’m moving out some shitty fucking housing myself soon). The band as a whole were mad tight, but I couldn’t help but be fixed on the singer. Between songs, he had witty banter and great interaction with the audience. Add to that completely losing his shit and thrashing onstage when not in singing mode, and he quickly made it onto my list of favorite frontmen. Pity a bunch of hipsters left after Melvins and missed out, but I appreciated the extra breathing room.
So, my last words here are if any of these acts come to your town, GO. Just fucking go.
Written by Angie Radczenko
Photogtaphy by Stacy Basque
*edited by Kate Erickson