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:: The Mad Capsule Markets ::
21 March 2003 / Academy 3 / Manchester
By Owen Dawson

You know, I’ve long argued that if there’s one thing we’ve lacked in Manchester for a long time, it’s a psychotic Japanese trance-thrash-techno-indie-pop-rap-metal outfit with indecipherable lyrics and guitarists who look like Pokemon characters. Thank the Lord for The Mad Capsule Markets then, the latest slice of weirdness to come out of the Land of the Rising Sun, hot on the heels of such cultural exports as pornographic cartoons, vending machines which dispense underwear and the peerless Banzai! But even as we may lightly poke fun at the often bizarre relationship between Japan and the west, (Shampoo, that peroxide schoolgirl duo who mildly thrilled us in the ‘90’s are bigger than Elvis there) we have to remember that just occasionally, the interesting mess of an ongoing culture clash can throw up something rather wonderful.


With this unconventional battle cry, MCM tear into a set that does to the word “eclectic” what US bombing raids are currently doing to strategic positions in Baghdad. One minute we’re bouncing along to a sweet pop riff, the next we’re confronting a full sensory assault in the shape of an ear splitting drum ‘n’ bass onslaught. All the time, a mental Japanese bloke is screeching his head off and leaping around like a wired kangaroo. To say this gig is intense would be a gross understatement.

Don’t ask me for song titles. Trifling details like that are lost in the barmy but breathtaking display of energy being enacted onstage. There is barely time to draw breath before we’re taken on another dizzying rollercoaster ride along the fringes of extreme noise, the kids at the front whipped into hysteria by the continuing barrage of ultra heavy guitars overlaid with deranged samples. It’s a frantic, frenzied melee, something I imagine a planet collapsing in on itself might sound like. The talkative frontman (sporting an impressive mohican) expresses his newly found delight in our city by shouting “WE LOVING YOU MANC-HEST-ARRR!!!!” more or less every ten seconds. Really, anyone who bought a Coldplay record recently needs to be here tonight so that they may repent, and be absolved.

There is shock value in what The Mad Capsule Markets do, and an inevitable novelty about them as well. They rock like Slayer, jangle like Doves and spit out rhymes like NWA, but their “mental oriental” act could become a little wearing after a while. That said, MCM can truly claim to be making music like absolutely no-one else, and you can be sure that they are quietly being lined up to lead the charge on the record buying public when the twitching of the nu-metal corpse eventually ceases. Whatever….The Mad Capsule Markets deliver a sliver of utter mayhem in culturally aware packaging. I loved it!

A Mad Capsule Markets Website
A Mad Capsule Markets Website (that looks official)

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