Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Boris - The Middle East, Cambridge MA, July 11, 2008

Middle East, Cambridge MA
Friday, July 11, 2006
Support - Torche, Clouds

A few years ago, in many of the rock magazines I get, I started to read of this band "Boris". The band had released a record that was making all these year end best of lists. After reading a few, and realizing it was music that I'd probably like I decided to check out the album "Pink" that had been getting such great reviews. After getting that record I started to slowly gather a cd here and there. Earlier this year "Smile" was released to glowing reviews. A grabbed the cd and tried to wrap my head around it. They are not a band for everyone, and even at times can be too much for even me. The end reward has always proven to be great. All that being said, once I saw they were playing locally I had to grab a ticket.

It was not a particularly out of the ordinary hot day but when I arrived and had my ID checked I felt the doors open that lead to the downstairs room and the wall of hot air rushed up. This was going to be a hot one. Musically I hoped for hot..but it was going to be a sweat box.

The 575 capacity room was "sold out" and as I entered the room Torche was wrapping up their set. I checked out the merch table for Boris. They had a slew of merchandise (the new cd alone is their 14th release). T-shirts, posters, cds, dvds, rare limited vinyl and what have you. It was fun to look over the things and see what some people were picking out.

Between bands the club actually lets people outside to smoke so the front of the room tends to free up some. I decided to make my way about 15 feet straight off the center of the stage. It was hot, real hot just standing there. Once the sold out room shuffled back in I knew it was going to be something.

Taking the stage about 11:30 the members set in front of their instruments. To my left (facing the stage) was guitarist Wata. She had a Les Paul guitar and a stack of Orange Amps that towered over her. To the center was Takeshi who played a double neck guitar/bass and sang the lead vocals. To the right was touring partner and collaborator Michio Kurihara on guitar and tucked in the back, shadowed by a massive gong was drummer Atsuo. The audience roared in approval as the members settled in and "Flower Sun Rain", the lead off track from "Smile" began. Atuso after warming up the gong sat in his drum seat and played the tambourine over his head. The track is very mellow for a Boris tune. As the track faded most of the people in attendance knew it was time to give the amps a work out.

The guitar/bass amps were stacked so high to the ceiling it was crazy. If there was under 6 inches between the tops of the guitar amps to the ceiling I'd be shocked. Sure enough we didn't need to wait long as the band hammered out the one/two punch of "Buzz In" in to "Laser Beam". The audience, not hot enough it seemed started to actually mosh a little. Atsuo would fire off drum rolls and shout into his headset microphone while Takeshi and Michio laid down the big riffs...but the biggest noise came from the smallest member Wata. She tore up her guitar. She didn't move around much, but she didn't need to. She was busy melting faces with her monster riffs.

The set list was the entire new cd "Smile" performed. The first few tracks were from "Smile" then "Pink" and "Floorshaker" were thrown in before the band returned to completing the "Smile" set.

Atsuo continually fired off his "wa-hoos" and other cat calls from behind the drum kit. He arrived on stage in a fully unbuttoned silk shirt, white gloves and that comical headset mic..but he never failed to entertain.

Due the the language barrier there was little stage banter at all outside a cat call and the introduction of Michio.

As the set drew towards a close the band began the 16+ minute untitled album closer. Stretched well beyond 16 minutes it was a wall of feed back drenched with e-bow and delay. Atsuo beat the tar out of his gong then rushed to the edge of the stage before diving out and crowd surfing about half way back on the floor before being returned and bashing the gong further. The wall of sound was almost un-nerving at times. I have been to a lot of shows and a lot of loud shows but how people stood there with out ear plugs is a mystery.

Had the heat not been so bad (I swear I had puddles in my sneakers and I was just standing there) the band may have come back for an encore, but who knows. The little I have read they usually renter the stage and their gear useless after the final song so who knows.

Full set:
Flower Sun Rain
Buzz - In
Laser Beam
My Neighbour Satan
Ka Re Ha Te Ta Sk Ki- No Ones' Grieve
You Were holding an umbrella
untitled (last track on Smile)

Overall it was a decent show. Had a rough week so this was just what I needed to unwind some. If you want to find out more, or hear something from them check out the bands myspace page, or their official page

Even more on Wiki



At Tuesday, July 15, 2008 1:26:00 PM , Blogger Ello said...

Man I feel old. I have never heard of them and I doubt my poor old ears would be able to handle the frenzy you are talking about. But a great write up nonetheless! you are the best music and concert reviewer and I love to read whatever you write even if I have no interest in the music because you write about it so well!


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