Tuesday, November 24, 2009

11/29: Melt-Banana at Grog Shop

Posted by on Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 1:23 PM

Is it a double entendre? A culinary disaster? Maybe it’s the nickname of a military weapon or STD? The only thing we know for sure is that Melt-Banana is a warning. The simple sugars of punk music become toxic, intoxicating vapors when freebased on a sheet-metal spoon. Singer Yasuko Onuki, the founder of the Tokyo noise-rock ensemble, uses the erratic pulse of squealing guitar, funky bass and frantic drums as a canvas for visceral squeaks, barks and yelps. Onuki’s primal vocals are the Jackson Pollack equivalent of singing — simple in form, but deep in implication. Given the band’s pinpoint turns at breakneck speeds, it’s not entirely fair to label Melt-Banana a noise band; there’s quite a bit of structure to the songs. The spirit of their music is raw, unfocused energy — a chaotic cacophony of sinuous signals, constantly changing direction, inexorably on its way to an unreachable destination. Then again, unless you’re into experimental music or free jazz, they probably just sound like a noisy blender with fleeting moments of melody and coherent structure. Melt-Banana’s secret weapon is their uncanny ability to maintain a strong sense of rhythm despite their bizarre, punctuated phrasing. They’re like the Sun Ra of punk rock. Deathers, Clan of the Cave Bear and Jerk kick things off at 8 p.m. at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Hts., 216.321.5588). Tickets: $12. — Nick DeMarino

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