This Melt Yourself Down Article was written by Sam Jourdan, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Hazel Webster.
It’s a rare thing when a band can command an entire room of people. Most frontmen can usually get some members of the crowd clapping in time for a few bars, but few exercise the effortless control that Melt Yourself Down lead singer Kushal Gaya held over the audience for the entirety of the band’s performance at Peckham’s Bussey Building last night. One event of note occurred during the encore, where Gaya had the 1,000-strong audience crouched on the floor, ready to spring in unison. The control Gaya and the rest of Melt Yourself Down had over the crowd was largely due to the band’s explosive energy and distinctive stage presence: with the live band being comprised of two saxophonists flanking Gaya, two percussionists and a bassist.
But despite this odd configuration, Melt Yourself Down are by no means a gimmick band. Certainly they act as somewhat of a reaction to contemporary dance music, but the quality of music is never outweighed by a desire to simply be weird. This notion was seen with sole support act Soccer96, a group comprised of just a drummer and singer/synth-player. A very different group sonically to Melt Yourself Down, Soccer96 saw lengthy, electronic tunes driven by improvised synth solos and ethereal, sporadic vocoded lines.
Melt Yourself Down took the stage shortly afterwards and launched straight into their setlist. The room began moving immediately, a trend which carried through the entirety of the band’s set. The audience themselves are worthy of commendation: they shared the energy of the band; engaging in stage dives and continually dancing, with nary an iPhone seen for the entire night.
Commendations must also go towards the band members themselves. Despite their aforementioned energy, they also displayed an impressive technical prowess. Every instrument had at least one solo throughout the night, with lead saxophonists Pete Wareham and Shabaka Hutchings frequently reminding the audience that you don’t have to strap on a guitar to be a rock star. This point was driven firmly home during the band’s last track: it’s safe to say that last night’s occupants of the Bussey Building won’t ever forget they saw a crowdsurfing saxophonist.