In another life, I found myself at a rave near a Morrissons in Borehamwood. It was held in an abandoned sports centre that had long grown derelict and I spent a great deal of the evening next to the imposing speaker. The next day, I struggled to make out the sound of cars passing me in the street and it hurt to listen to the radio at anything louder than a whisper.
In the aftermath of the sonic assault conducted by Melt-Banana on Wednesday I once again found myself struggling to make out the conversations on my commute to work. The world seemed a little duller exiting the rather iconic Dingwalls and that wasn’t only because my ears were dripping blood. Melt-Banana gave the sold-out venue just over an hour of incredible noise, chaotic to the extreme whilst still maintaining the rigidity of a class act. Energy flowed in both directions, as the crowd bounced and flew throughout every note. Yasuko Onuki was entirely electric, her presence flowing rhythmically from the front of the venue all the way to the bar at the back. I made note, during a brief water break, over the quivering cups of drinking water sat frightened on the bar – this was not a show for the faint of heart, nor anybody who wished even to take a moment to breathe.
Deaf Kids opened the night with a torrent of bouncing beatery and were a true spectacle, the three-piece seemingly able to make more noise than most orchestras. Combining the viscerality of hardcore with their own Brazillian influences, they won over many an ear inside of the Dingwalls, with ‘Templo do Caos’ being a particular standout track, in amongst a fluid set that seemed to flow naturally through pieces.
It was, however, Melt-Banana that everybody left talking about. As they approach their thirtieth year of making music together, they seem instinctively able to read a crowd, to draw them in with as much intensity as any other well-established act. There appears to be a dedicated hardcore of fans who shout along with every seemingly indistinguishable word. Part of the charm lies in their disregard for ‘sensical’ mixtures of genre – this is grindcore, heavy metal, rock and roll, skramz and electronica all rolled into one rather turbulent sound.
As they continue their tour around the United Kingdom, keep an eye out for when they play a date near you. Just do yourself a favour and take a pair of earplugs.
Review and photography by Alexander Sarychkin