bands: Boris, Litury, Monogatari venue: El Lunario, Mexico City date: May 16, 2013
A NIGHT OF AMPLIFIER WORSHIP
There is a major difference between attending an experimental music concert and being in a more ordinarily structured music event, and it is that the first is about a more physical experience while the latter may become into a sing-along night. Japanese freaks Boris are one of those bands that are able to develop both experiences in the same gig. This godsend happens due to their wide scope on music, switching their style in each album between drone, harsh noise, stoner, noise rock, doom, shoegaze and even dirty hardcore and punk. Thus, while one may put one’s eardrum on heavy duty by an annihilator noise attack one may be waiting for the band to play one’s favorite melody, though I am still unable to sing their lyrics no matter how many times I listen to Red House Painters' “Japanese to English”.
Therefore, the promise of catching Boris in Mexico City was an electrifying highlight inside the not that short list of gigs near my town in this year. Boris landed Mexico in the framework of Festival Aural. Aural is the experimental twisted branch of the Festival de la Ciudad de Mexico. As far as I know, Aural is an evolution of the Radar Festival formerly hosted by the same people who now set up Aural. These hard working people bless us with one of the most important festival of experimental music in Mexico, bringing us the opportunity of witnessing the performance of important names such as Sunn O))), Nurse with Wound, Mike Patton, Oren Ambarchi, Jazkamer, Keiji Haino, Z’ev, KTL, Earth, Sun Ra Arkestra and Pan Sonic’s Mika Vaino among many others. This time Boris is supported by northamerican post-black metalheads Liturgy and a Mexican project called Monogatari. The tripartite sonic experience took place in the Lunario stage, which is a very interesting venue thought to lodge high quality music live shows of all nature.
The rainy night of May 16 Monogatari assaulted the Lunario’s stage with a strong attack of harsh noise which eventually started to reveal the band’s musical aim. I had never heard about these guys before, in fact digging in the web for information yields nothing but a Japanese literature style. The guys cover their faces with strange cloths. Monogatari’s line-up features guitarist, drummer, bassist and a singer who also takes over the electronics. Their noise is one stamped by an influence of metal and perhaps punk. I didn’t feel too comfortable with the vocals which, in the more punk-ish moments, brought some screamo singers to my mind. However, in the few minutes the band starred the night, they were able to develop powerful music and show beams of originality. Some annoying people started to ask for Boris apparition while Monogatari was still playing. Among the audience you could realize that about 50% were metalheads and one can infer it, those annoying people were metalheads, this is why metal fans are often seen as selfish and disrespectful people who can’t put up with something that doesn’t appear at metal-archives.com or with new national bands.
It was time for Liturgy to bring some noise. The two-piece outfit uses a drum machine in a laptop and in the live show you’ll see nothing but two guitars and some pedals. I had come across with this band in the web before, but honestly they didn’t catch my attention. Nevertheless, once I watched them live I changed my mind. The band formerly had a bassist and drummer who were eventually laid off. These guys play in a very interesting way, using their pedals they are able to build up a colossal sound of distorted black metal riffs. The guitarist wearing glasses was a few centimeters to me and I was able to stare the complexity of his riffs. I could do it only once the crowded press was asked to leave, they were right in front the stage during about two songs in each presentation. I was surprised about the number of guys from the press. I was in the forward and the only thing I could see was a bald tall photographer’s nape. The singer manages a sort of melancholic shouts in the vein of depressive bands like Austere. Striking is the way he used the looping pedal to set up a choir varying his tone and recording. The drum machine, though sometimes mimicking the former human drummer, was often used to bring a more noise-like element reaching inhuman speeds and approaching a drone that sometimes yielded in a cyber-grind-esque sound. I really enjoyed the Liturgy’s performance, I do believe I was not the only one, actually there were some people asking the band to play “Returner”, the video that gave them popularity out there in the web.
And finally, it was time for some heavy rocks with masters Boris. Wata’s beautiful Orange amps were turned on and so were Takeshi’s Marshall ones; two huge pedal sets were carried to stage and were welcomed like if they were other members of the band. After a short waiting the band started out with a powerful droning riffage and Atsuo bringing noise from the gong, it couldn’t be another but “Huge”, one of my two favorite Boris songs (alongside with “Blackout”). Wata was a few centimeters to me, I fell in love with her, actually we all did when she sang “Rainbow” with her sweet charming voice. The band offered a new (unreleased?) song “Vanilla” and I don’t know if I’m wrong here but I think I heard some electronics recorded in the background which sounded like been painted by mastermind Merzbow. The whole concert was exactly what I expected (neglecting the lack of “Blackout”): they moved from droning heavy slowness, uptempo punk-ish songs like “Statement” and “Pink”, with that amazing Wata’s noisy solos; harsh noise long stages like the ending of “Flood”, when Atsuo took a pedal and unleashed a twisted brutal noise; in total contrast, we also enjoyed the relaxing soft waves of post-rock and shoegaze in “Cosmos” and “Angel” (which appears to be a different version from the one in “She’s So Heavy”). The band likes to have a modest interaction with the attendance: Takeshi spoke to us in clear Spanish “ustedes son chingones”, Wata had to thank in Spanish after the crowd screamed her name several times, and what to tell about Atsuo who jumped on the crowd during a harsh noise passage.
Boris played ultraheavy and loud, reaching the climax in the grand finale with “Flood”, when the band just lost control while Wata loops in the same characteristic riff and the noise rises up and up. Only then did I feel the wall of sound punching me in the stomach. I don’t really know if Boris exceeded the threshold of pain that night, but I am almost sure that they were not higher than the 125 db reached by Sunn O))) in the Radar Festival in 2009. However, Boris harnessed to death those mythical Orange amps as well as the Takeshi’s Marshalls, bringing us an unforgettable night of loudness and amplifier worship.
Boris Heavy Rocks!!!: Official Site