1. Lead singer Yasuko O. is cute as pie, which is a delightful contrast to her seemingly bad-ass reputation. Live, she barks, chokes, shriek and screeches her incoherent English lyrics just as she would on any album. But then she stops to take a breather and she’s all smiles and peace-fingers.
2. My guess is that 75% of last night’s crowd has an Asian fetish going on (which is fine by me). When Yasuko stopped mid-set and said to the crowd, “we have tee-surts, um… tee-shuts, hehehe, tee-shirts!” half the crowd swooned at the sound of her adorably broken English accent. That combined with all the hyper, frenetic energy jammed into a 90 degree room was sure to have melted a lot of bananas.
3. The crowd was mostly angst-ridden noise-boys in front (making sad attempts to stage dive, despite the fact that no one was willing to catch) and older-ish heads in the back, the kind who attend every noise rock show in the city to just sort of… lounge and converse with others in the ‘scene.’ While there was never any danger of the Melt Banana, peeps there had enough energy to compensate for any empty space in that basement.
4. The sound was as spastic and chaotic as ever. But sadly, they didn’t pull out all the Japanoise Jedi tricks that you often hear so much about. Where were the glue-sniffing pandas or the dogs painted purple? The best they could do was pull out a stuffed-animal spider of whom Yasuko introduced as “my friend Spy-da!” At least she was still rocking those five inch tennis shoes she had on from her last tour. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why Yasuko didn’t bust out any fancy, punk rock dance moves- for fear of tripping into a pit of ravenous boys.
5. They played an 50/50 mix of their lo-fi and hi-fi stuff, mixing distorted, weirdly-muzzled noise with crisp, high, chirpy songs. Guitarist Ichirou Agata plays like he doesn’t have wrists, moving his fingers so fast and chaotically you almost wonder if maybe he’s just playing air guitar. But judging by the fact that my ears are still ringing gloriously the day after, all that intense, abrasive screeching was very, very real. Over and out. Amen.
PHOTOS & TEXT BY EVA LIAO