Melt Banana/Hot Cross/Breather Resist - live in Pittsburgh (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Melt Banana / Hot Cross / Breather Resist

live in Pittsburgh (2005)

live show

The show took place in a quaint art gallery, a small theater with some raised seats and a main floor in front of the stage, which made for some in-between set comfort. Despite some mixing problems, the acoustics worked well for the diverse range of bands playing that night.

Conelrad, a two-piece, guitar'n'drum duo, opened the show, and seemingly dodged genre labeling with every bar. While the guitarist alternated between metal soloing, tech riffs and effects pedal maniuplation as he would occasionally sing in one version of Mike Patton's personality, the drummer would abruptly play spastic and/or grind fills, and scream/sing/mutter into the mic beside him. It was more cohesive than it sounds and a fair aesthetic to get interest rolling.

Set List [from the paper]:

  • Horror
  • Thanatonic
  • Gin
  • Burdizzo
  • BODY
  • FEAR
  • Mr
  • Taepodons
  • Mania
Breather Resist took the stage next. My initial interest in the band had materialized after hearing last year's split with Suicide Note. It was the band's first night on the tour and already they had a small bit of trouble getting, at least, the visual portion of their set across. They requested for the lights to be shut off, but the one venue crew person on hand and in person at the time insisted he didn't know how. This didn't fare too well for the blinding stage lights, embedded in two respective amps at the ends of the stage, which were supposed to be a "surprise" when the band would begin to play. Luckily, the band did manage to convey their sound just fine, that being atmospheric hardcore/metal, usually contained in penetrating guitars and a wall-of-sound backdrop. The more light plucking moments from the guitarist made for interesting moments. The singer's on-stage movement was rather predictable and patterned though, as he would either come towards the left-center, front part of the stage to shake, or stalk near the front of the drums and lean over diagonally, facing the right end of the stage to scream into the mic. The set, flowed, certainly, but more in the sense that all the songs were pretty similar-sounding.

Surprisingly, Hot Cross followed. The last time I'd saw the band, they were opening for Fear Before The March Of Flames, and the set was a bit marred by the band's apparent technique of not replicating ANY of the backup vocals found on their studio recordings. So while I began to think that perhaps they'd learned the set would be more complete with the inclusion of them, Billy Werner, with only three other band members behind him, told the crowd they'd be playing without a guitarist that night (he might've had a reasonable explanation, but if so, I didn't catch it). In spots, the sound was slightly awkward, but the band still played a real solid set, and at least sang the first part of "Eastern Standard Time of the dead!" in "Fortune Teller." The one sole guitarist was just as incredibly accurate on his leads as he was the aforementioned show, and was easily the most energetic of the quartet; you could tell he was having fun, and it made the set that much better. After Billy talked about and criticized the widespread misogynic attitudes present in whichever scene he was referring to, the band played their newest song, "Tacoma," which is set to appear on a charity compilation later this year. For anyone appreciative of the amazing progression the band has gone through in their four albums, "Tacoma" will be, in the least, pretty enjoyable, as it's got dynamic tempo/pace changes, raw ...Lungs-esque takes and a spectacular, clean guitar lead á la "Better A Corpse Than A Nun." The band did a fine job with "Putting The Past Right," "Throw Collars To The Wind," "Finger Redux," and "Lend Me Your Brain (I'm Building An Idiot)" as well.

Set List [from the paper]:
  • ------------------
Now, I don't quite remember who was who, but three older-looking, very out-of-place gentleman then took the stage by the names of Ligeti, Gebbia, and Pupillo. The trio consisted of a left stage saxophonist, center stage drummer, and right stage bassist. The drummer introduced himself as from Philadelphia, and that he would be collaborating that night with the two Italian men on both sides of him. What they proceeded to play could be very poorly described as a completely fucked up noise/jazz/experimental/funk hybrid that made little-to-no-sense whatsoever. The band, vocal-less, seemingly played whatever they felt like. The bassist, in particular, played with this unrelenting, frustrated expression on his face like he was looking for a sound that he just couldn't find. At one point, he was stretching the top string behind the guitar neck to produce a sound when he impulsively grabbed his beer bottle, resting on the amp behind him, and started scratching the bottle against the rest of the strings. He quite literally loosened up that top string as a result. This was occurring as the drummer would be banging a bell and letting it ring against the snare, or as the saxophonist would be making blunt blowing noises into his mouthpiece that sounded like African wildlife mating calls. The only vague comparison I could make is ZZZZ's most bizzarre brainstorming sessions. It was pretty interesting for the first 15 minutes, though it seemed to run a bit long. The three gentleman received a rather rousing ovation though, and seemed to mostly fit in that night.

If anyone could follow it up, though, it was Melt Banana. Though the vocals were pretty low for most of the set, you could tell that vocalist Yasuko O.'s trademark...whatever you would call it, was reproduced live just the same as on record. And boy, did the crowd eat it up; I wasn't sure that moshing to grind was possible, but it was definitely taking place behind me, and in a very uP the pUnx manner. Regardless, I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable the set was, and how well the band was translating live; their sound flowed extremely well, and O. was rather charming with her broken English. Midway through one song, she brought her furry hippack to her front waist, and started taking out small photograph/mini-postcard type-things, and handing them to the crowd one at a time. At one point in the set, O. said the band would play 10 short songs, and they proceeded to do just that: play 3-8 second-long songs, with short pauses in between only to introduce the titles. They also played a vaguely familiar cover but I couldn't totally place it. Free of a previous personal bias against or for the band, the hour-long set was a treat and capped off the night well.

Set List:
Click here

Pictures from the show, by Meg Reinecker