AMATEUR CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY HOUR: Napalm Death/Melvins/Melt Banana @ Opera House, April 19, 2016

Since they made their long-awaited return to Toronto–without an opening act–back in 2010, the Melvins have brought some interesting openers on tour, from spazzcore outfit Retox (the Cobain kids hated them!) to Mexican noise rockers Le Butcherettes. But this had to be their most ambitious outing yet, teaming up with grindcore legends Napalm Death and Japanese noise duo Melt Banana.

Actually, this was a co-headlining gig, with Napalm going on last and both them and the Melvins playing for about an hour. I guess as some of these bands from back in the day start getting up there in age, we might see more such ventures in the future. But from my vantage point, I gotta say, the Melvins had a much more punishing pit!

Melt Banana was probably the perfect opener for this excursion, offering us the best of both worlds; equal parts Boris and Birdflesh. They even did a stretch of six songs in under 60 seconds that woulda made Billy Milano proud. Their set barely lasted 30 minutes, but they certainly made their mark…

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Though it wasn’t the longest set, the Melvins put on a really tight effort. With Steve McDonald of Redd Kross adding additional energy on the low-end–their fourth different bassist in four Toronto trips–they blazed through a blistering set that even included a killer double-time cover of “Deuce.” And while Buzzo busted out his cosmic cloak, the other band members wore their influences on their shirts, with BASS and DRUMS emblazoned in KISS-style rhinestones. They even brought Shane Embury up on stage for “Night Goat”…making him the fifth different bassist to join ’em on stage in Toronto since 2010. Twas the first time they ever played a bass solo, though!

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Now, it’s been a while since I’ve listened to Napalm Death, but some of their songs sounded more like Discharge-style d-beat than what I’d call grindcore…not that there’s anything wrong with that. And hey, they did play “You Suffer,” so we’re all good!

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Gruesome Greg

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.