Around the time in the early 90s when I became aware of bands such as Acid Mothers Temple, Ghost, Zeni Geva and The Boredoms, I’ve come to live by one simple rule. If a Japanese band is playing in your town, go see them. It’s not that complicated, it doesn’t overrun your social calendar, and it’s ultimately very rewarding. Boris aren’t exactly strangers to the touring circuit and generally have made their way from their native Japan for an annual sojourn that criss-crosses through the States. So, if for whatever reason you have so far avoided their bruisingly beautiful sonic pummeling, consider this a heads up for 2020.
The recent big news from the noise/sludge/J-pop/psych/metal/whatever-flavor-you-desire band concerns Third Man Records providing crucial reissues of two of their most celebrated records, ones that on vinyl fetched fistfuls of dollars via the discogs and ebay worlds. Though Boris is ostensibly touring on their soon to be released record LOVE & EVOL, they barely touched it aside from the sludgy, smeared metalgaze of the title track and the livelier album closer “Shadow Of Skull.” The trio slyly nodded to their country via two totally obscure covers including the J-Pop “Heavenly Blue” and the heavier and dronier “To The Beach,” but the prime material of the regular set was parts 2 and 3 of Feedbacker. Ten years ago I was fortunate enough to have seen them play this record in its entirety and it’s really the crown jewel of their sprawling discography. Atsuo’s perfectly timed and nuance ride cymbal, the slow build while Takeshi switches from guitar to bass on his double-necked guitar, and Wata throwing flames from her black Les Paul once the rhythm builds and boils over.
Akuma No Uta got a smaller slice of the set, but damn was it a doozy. Openers Uniform came out to augment the title track, a song where you can trace the loping bass line in a direct hereditary lineage to Weedeater. Singer Michael Berdan uncoiled like a cobra, leaning in, around and over people on and off stage. Powerful stuff, even to the point that the two following songs (“Pink” and “Statement”) that ended the encore seemed a bit superfluous.
Photos of both bands here: