This past Wednesday, I headed to Philadelphia’s sold out Underground Arts in order to catch a stacked lineup of Melt Banana, The Melvins, and England’s Napalm Death. Definitely a diverse lineup,tThe place was pretty packed out from the moment I arrived right as Melt Banana were setting up.
Japanese experimental noise punk band Melt Banana have easily been on of my favorite bands for many years now. I’ve had the pleasure of catching them as a full band plenty of times in the past, and have got to see them as the two piece they are now a year ago over at Johnny Brenda’s.
I expected most people in the crowd to not care about them, considering they were the first openers and figured most people were there to catch the legendary Melvins or highly influential Napalm Death. I was dead wrong.
Melt Banana took the stage with guitarist Agata playing an aural soundscape while vocalist Onuki hit her handheld drum pad producing coin sounds from the Mario games, before blasting into “Chain Shot To Have Some Fun”. The place immediately erupted, with a bunch of us up front opening up a pit and us singing along.
Melt Banana kept energy levels high as they tore through their set which consisted of songs mostly from their latest Fetch, before Onuki announced they would be playing “six short songs”.
With strobe lights, a wall of sound, and their electronic-punk-grind chaos, Melt Banana remains one of the heaviest bands around and puts on a more intense, heavier show even as a two-piece than most other bands. Easily one of the best live bands around, they definitely put on a fantastic set, with my only complaint being I wish they had more time to play.
Setlist (From what I remember, not in order):
Chain Shot To Have Some Fun
Left Dog (Run Caper Run)
6 quick songs, but the only I remember is Dog Song. May have been the quick ones on Bambi’s Dilemma.
Washington’s The Melvins have been around for a long time, dating back from 1983, and have an extensive discography to prove it (over 20 something studio albums, and countless EPs, singles, etc). Their punk/sludge/metal sound has influenced a number of bands, with the biggest probably being Nirvana who stated they wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for The Melvins.
Even though grunge has mostly died out, The Melvins keep cranking out albums and touring, putting on a solid live show. Plenty of their set consisted of the slower “stoner sludge”: slow tempo, low tuned guitars jams that is similar to My War era Black Flag, but they threw in plenty of their thrashier songs as well (which an ADD riddled punk fan like myself prefers).
A solid set, while my knowledge of their recorded work is a bit limited (only having a handful of albums), they definitely put on a tight, enjoyable set, and was good to see one of the more influential bands of our time live.
The Kicking Machine
Magic Pig Detective
With Yo Heart Not Yo Hands
Sesame Street Meat
The Water Glass
Onions Make The Milk Taste Bad
The Bloated Pope
A Growing Disgust
The Decay Of Lying
Halo Of Flies
Speaking of influential bands, when it comes to grindcore / extreme metal, there are few bands that are as well known or was as influential as England’s Napalm Death. With the band’s existence dating back to 1981, Napalm Death has influenced plenty of other grind bands over the years.
From the moment they started, the place erupted with stage dives and a sizeable pit as Napalm Death ripped through a set consisting heavily of songs off of their highly rated latest album “Apex Predator – Easy Meat” with a few older songs thrown in, mostly off of Scum and From Enslavement To Obliteration.
Taking some time to talk about an outsider’s perspective of our current elections and candidates, obviously incredibly critical of Trump and his proposed racist policies, Napalm Death also kept things light hearted as they joked with the crowd about Slipknot’s lasting influence of grindcore and metal.
An incredibly fun show, Napalm Death puts on a killer set. With such a stacked lineup, you really should go check this tour out if it comes near you.
Apex Predator – Easy Meat
Silence Is Deafening
When All Is Said And Done
Smash A Single Digit
Continuing War On Stupidity
Dear Slum Landlord…
Suffer The Children
Breed To Breathe
Conform (Siege cover)
The World Keeps Turning
How The Years Condemn
Nazi Punks Fuck Off (Dead Kennedys Cover)