When my friend Doug and I saw that The Melvins were coming to NY with a stacked bill including Napalm Death and Melt Banana, there was no way we wouldn’t be seeing this.
As a grunge head, Doug felt he needed to see The Melvins at least once and they were always a band I was curious about. The only date that was convenient for us was Saturday, April 15th in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, also known as the hipster capital of America.
Doug used this as the opportunity to overcome his fear of city driving. As we ventured through New York City’s lower east side slumps and narrow streets we finally got to “The ‘Burg.” Getting there was a weird experience as the area looked very run down and ghetto, yet artsy at the same time. Instead of scary looking people walking around it was mostly all hipsters and punks. We even found a supermarket that was 90 percent vegan and organic food. At 8:00 P.M. we walked into the venue and waited for the first band.
The big opener was Japanese noise rock titans Melt Banana. I’ve seen them once before at Maryland DeathFest and while it was wacky there they somehow manged to make this set even wackier.
They started their set with wierd video game sounds being played on both the vocalists phone and the guitarist’s guitar. After this they transitioned to their grind and pop influenced noise rock.
Throughout the majority of their set the vocalist would move her arms up and down like a robot while flashing green and red lights on her white shirt. This all helped the bands signature sound of lazer beam guitar riffs and chirping vocals feel even wilder. Mid-set the band did a medley of about six of their shorter songs in one. This included “Dog Song” that was mostly clean vocals with a barking chorus (yes, a barking chorus). After what felt like an amazing drug trip it was time for The Melvins.
At around 10:00 P.M. the duo of Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover got on stage with guest bassist Steve McDonald of the Los Angeles, Calif. alternative rock band Redd Kross.
They started out with The Melvins’ classics “Eyes Fly” and “Queen.” After these two songs the set list was mostly a mixture of later numbers like “Sesame Street Meat” and covers including the grunge classic “Leech” by Green River, “Halo of Flies” by Alice Cooper (which they closed with) and a song from Redd Kross which McDonald got on vocals for.
The band had a very loud and heavy live sound which fit perfectly with their slower droning tracks. While it was a very long set, it wasn’t boring for a minute as these guys are born performers.
After their set, Doug and his brother decided to leave. We wanted to see Napalm Death but we also didn’t want to be home so late plus we had all already seen them before (I’ve seen them twice and Doug’s seen them once). As we drove back, we instantly wanted to find an excuse to return to the city. Chelsea Wolfe is playing next month and director John Carpenter will be performing his iconic film soundtracks live in July so hopefully my return will be sooner than later.