BEING THERE: Melt Banana @ Johnny Brenda’s



It was an evening of magnificent sensory overload last night at Johnny Brenda’s as the Japanese grind-pop duo Melt-Banana performed amid a vivid array of animated lights and electric colors, triggering the sold-out crowd to erupt in a wild, mass of exuberant imbalance. Touring in support of the band’s newest release, Return of the 13 Hedgehogs (MxBx Singles 2000-2009), vocalist Yasuko Onuki and guitarist Ichirou Agata created a perpetual frenzy of blast beats and over-amplified pop melodies complimented by Yasuko’s cartoonish pitch. Sharing the bill last night were the Philadelphia-based crust oddity HIRS and the synth-driven art-core band Hot Nerds, both acts offering appropriate variations on the abrasive aural themes of the evening: Loud and strange. Enabled by programmed drum patterns, Melt-Banana’s hyperactive set culled a bulk of its set from their 2013 album, Fetch, speeding through songs like “Candy Gun,” “My Missing Link,” “The Hive,” “Left Dog (Run, Caper, Run)” and “Schemes of the Tails.” Midway through the set, Yasuko addressed the crowd to promote the new release, sharing, with an air of charming uncertainty in her choice of words, that the album features some cover tracks. From there, the band performed a ridiculously fast version of “Monkey Man” by Toots & The Maytals and followed with a hyperbolic rendition of Devo’s “Uncontrollable Urge.” A thoroughly engaging and enjoyable performance, Melt-Banana offered one encore before thanking the crowd and exiting the stage. — SEAN CALDWELL