Touring on the back of their 2017 album release “Dear”, Tokyo three-piece “Boris” brought their 25th anniversary celebrations to the "Warsaw" in Brooklyn, New York this month.
In experimental three-piece “Boris”, New York City seems to have embraced another Japanese band that are almost better-known stateside than they are in their native Tokyo. Yet despite frequent visits to America by the band, discussion, online and off, about their nearly sold-out show in New York this month, was heated.
I first knew of Boris five years ago from the acclaimed soundtrack to the film “Kokuhaku”("Confessions"). Film director Tetsuya Nakashima is renowned for his choice of alternative music from the underground that goes side by side with the grotesque and bizarre scenes in his work. He picked six of Boris’ songs for “Kokuhaku” which elevated the impotence, tension and hatred of the film’s character throughout the two dimensions of this band: experimental noise ("Feedbacker") and undemonstrative melancholy ("Nijimu Zanzou").
Of course, Boris are more than just two dimensions, having shifted among all kinds of possibilities in each one of their past albums. Also, it is a habit of the band to play albums in their entirety, tracks in the same order, while on tour in order to give audiences a fresh and vivid sense of the current spiritual and musical state they occupy.
Boris’ recent show at the Warsaw in New York was no different. Their new drone metal album "Dear" came out in July to wide critical acclaim, and the performance was far beyond any cheap words. The group may have looked slender and quiet, but their creation of heavy sound waves which bounced around the crowd was no joke. With their fuzzy guitar and vigorous beats, they were able to create an almost imaginary transparent jar in the venue space that held all the psychedelic thoughts and sounds within touch. Instead of supplying music alone, the trio were actually handing out their aesthetics, an effect achieved by switching pedals and layering feedback.
The whole concert almost appeared as ritual. The popular profile of fans of a band like Boris might be dark-dressed, firm in look, mysterious, and of few words. Outside of this group Brooklyn's Warsaw venue saw a few Japanese culture followers, more expressive with their outfits. All who attended, though, seemed to be held by the same attitude of reverence. They enter. They stand. They cheer at the end of the set. They remain in silence during the interval, and appear to leave as they come. Somewhere deep inside though, all are aware that something has permanently changed about themselves.
Who says music is not a cult?
Setlist (Warsaw in Brooklyn, NY, Nov.1, 2017):
- D.O.W.N -Domination of Waiting Noise-
- The Power
- Memento Mori
- Dystopia -Vanishing Point-