Boris - Brudenell Social Club - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Boris - Brudenell Social Club

by Andy Brown Rating: Release Date:

Shrouded in billowing pink smoke on the Brudenell stage, Boris make for pretty cool silhouettes; especially Takeshi with his signature double-necked guitar. You know from the start that Boris' live show will have something of the theatrical about it; there's a massive gong on the stage sitting behind an equally impressive drum-kit and stacks of both Marshall and Orange amps to either side. You also know it is going to be loud.

Before Boris can blow our collective minds, however, we get a set from Bristol based singer/songwriter Joe Volk. Volk doesn't immediately seem to be the obvious choice to support a band like Boris; his music is hazy and melancholic, songs performed in hushed tones. His style is reminiscent of Mount Eerie and even Bon Iver. Yet Volk has just recorded a much fawned-over split LP with the Japanese rock-gods and has joined them on successive tour dates around the UK.

Unfortunately, while the split LP is meant to be great (I haven't heard it yet), Volk's set seems to lose my interest a little after a while. That's not to say that their aren't some great moments; his cover of Bonnie 'Prince' Billy classic 'I See a Darkness' is suitably spine-tingling. Volk certainly has something going on, yet tonight his songs seem to lack the distinctiveness and boldness of the artists he brings to mind.

Boris - guitarist/bassist Takeshi, impossibly cool guitarist Wata, sturdy tour guitarist Michio and singing drummer Atsuo - are met with huge cheers as they take to the stage. Atsuo theatrically lifts a mallet in the air and proceeds to strike the previously mentioned gong to start the show. The band explodes into life with a deliciously heavy slice of Melvins-esque sludge-rock. It's monumentally heavy and undeniably thrilling. Boris have been perfecting their art since 1996 album Absolutego and tonight they're on admirably untouchable form.

Atsuo whoops and yells through the set as he takes on his drum kit much in the style of that most iconic of drummers, Animal (from The Muppets). Their set veers between sludge-metal, tinnitus-inducing sonic experimentalism and 100mph psychedelic punk, with Takeshi playing the role of rock-god guitarist perfectly. They're not a band that shy away from rocks inherent ridiculousness; Boris know how to put on a show. Easily the loudest band I've seen this year and easily one of the most impressive; tonight I think I've fallen a little bit in love.

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