Is it possible to control a packed, sweaty crowd with a remote control? And if so, does that make us fans into television characters, dancing around for our master’s enjoyment? For Japanese noise rock duo, Melt Banana, this remote control mosh pit seems to be a nightly occurrence.
Late last week, Melt Banana played Orlando for the first time in four years. I and my main goon/incredible photographer (all my friends are photographers) Johnny B showed up prepared for mayhem. But, we definitely weren’t prepared for Melt Banana’s brand of ear-busting madness. Enjoy.
In the past, Melt Banana has had live drums. They’ve had two official drummers and a number of guest drummers for touring and studio recordings. But, pretty much every band has a drummer. And Melt Banana, in both sound and performance, is pretty much like no other band. They descended upon Orlando with grit, furry, and power. Yasuko Onuki constantly bombarded the crowd, and their eardrums, with her brutal vocals, never breaking throughout their 45-minute set. She also wielded the aforementioned remote that commanded pre-recorded drums.
The reason I keep coming back to this remote is because throughout the show, it kept the pace of the night’s energy. Onuki repeatedly raised the illuminated rectangle above her head, stopping the barrage of sound, before swinging it down, dropping a bomb of adrenaline onto the audience. Like a twisted conductor, her movements controlled the sea of bodies before her.
But, Melt Banana has a co-conductor. And he’s just as twisted. The piercing sound of guitarist Ichirou Agata was the true perpetrator in the stabbing of my ears. He masterfully looped guitar lines atop of each other to create a wave of static. During each song, Agata would run through a string of riffs, quickly switching along with his partner’s remote. The entire night felt like flipping through channels, endlessly overcome with stimuli, until your head finally explodes.