Melt Banana

House of Blues

March 31, 2004

When does a song end and begin? This was the question Wednesday night as Melt Banana played disjunctive rock at The House of Blues. There were breaks for applause, but songs disguised as diverse pieces of music strewn together made Melt Banana's sound difficult to figure out. Thus, exhilarating.

Melt Banana were a hardcore/punk quartet from Tokyo that out-played any American punk band I've seen. The band was vocalist Yasuko Onuki, bassist Rika Hamamoto, guitarist Agata Ichiro and drummer Sudo Toshiaki.

Their timing was precise, evidenced by numerous stops and gos executed like lined up prisoners. They switched from a double bass rampage to a cleaner punk attack to a moderate noise fest. My headbanging had to be savored because I didn't how quickly the pace could change.

Ichiro, the band's anchor, provided the screeching notes, especially when he used a slide while strumming feverishly. He wore a SARS mask and a black X taped over his white t-shirt. The music was mostly angry, but the band was irrepressibly cute when the music dropped out and Onuki spoke in a preening voice before the heaviness re-started. Their massive assault was partly due to Hamamoto, whose exceptional playing was actually turned up loud enough in the mix to hear.

The problem was they only played for 30 minutes.

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