Melt-Banana Lite: A Second Opinion

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Expect just as much confusion at Melt-Banana Lite's show tonight, with more of an American audience
​Melt-Banana is playing the Hollywood Alley tonight. For those faithful readers of Up on the Sun, this should come as no surprise. I mentioned this fact a few weeks ago, explaining just what Melt-Banana Lite means. This concert is previewed in the current issue of the New Times, proving that there has been an exhaustive amount of coverage for this particular Japanese noise-rock band. Worry not, however, since I have more dutiful words to hopefully describe just what will be taking place tonight at the Hollywood Alley.

Here is yours truly's own take on Melt-Banana/Melt-Banana Lite/Whatever the hell they need to call themselves:

Japanese noise-rockers Melt-Banana made their name by shucking convention to the curb and recording loud, abrasive music employing heavy, screeching guitar riffs with experimental electronic music. That formula, while adored by their fans, was often criticized for not translating well in a recorded format. Their live shows, however, became a thing of legend, often packed with crowds eager to hear the purest, unfiltered form of what makes Melt-Banana so unique.  The band tours extensively, often choosing the U.S. and U.K. over their native Japan, a move the band attributes to the high cost of touring in their homeland. Japan's loss is America's gain, however, as the 2009 version of Melt-Banana includes "Melt-Banana Lite," a version of the band with drums and vocals, yet no guitars. Filling in for the guitars will be samples and synths, proving Melt-Banana is constantly evolving as a band, introducing new, even more offbeat styles for their notoriously loud and frenetic live shows. So if you like your Japanese noise-rock with synths instead of guitars and mind-boggling, incoherent vocals - I know I sure do - then join the party and get your eardrums shattered by Japan's ambassadors of rejected normalcy, Melt-Banana.

There's just a touch of sarcasm in there because, well, Melt-Banana is an interesting band. I'm not going to play nice and ignore the fact that their music consists of incoherent screaming over abrasive, oft-unlistenable metal riffs and experimental synthesizers. While it's a weird little formula, it sounds kind of disastrous. Also, this is Arizona, a decidedly Red State -- one of which to prominently feature a Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill (he named his restaurant using a sentence!) Sometimes that combination doesn't quite play to certain crowds out here.

I understand people love this type of music, and I encourage those people to enjoy what they love. I also understand how this type of music can confuse and scare lots of people

At any rate, head on out to Hollywood Alley and take it all in tonight. Tokyo to Phoenix is a long trip.

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