Boris @ The Studio, Sydney (28/05/2010)

Since their formation in 1992, Boris has been one of the most versatile bands in the music industry. The band’s sounds, ranging from soothing ambient masterpieces to epic noise and metal creations have established a strong cult following. The mesmerizing live show further emphasizes their place as powerful, versatile and respected force in the independent music scene today.

Wandering around before the gig it became evident that, like the band’s music, their fans were also an extremely versatile bunch. If I ventured the halls of the Studio, unknowing that I was attending a Boris concert, I would have had no idea what kind of gig I was in for. The foyer was an exhibition of conflicting band shirts from Slayer, Opeth, Sonic Youth, The Black Keys and even the Flaming Lips. If that doesn’t at all give a slight idea of the range of the fans, then I really don’t know what will.

As the doors opened, I noticed a small sign next to them which read something along the lines of “This concert is going to be extremely loud. It is highly recommended that you use ear plugs. Free ear plugs are available.” I picked some of these up and after venturing downstairs into the heart of the venue, noticing the large speakers I was standing directly next to and the trademark Orange and Sunn amps of Boris, I realized I had made the right choice.

Anyway, onto the gig itself.

Eventually the seemingly contrasting venue music of Neil Young and other acoustic artists gradually stopped as howls began to echo throughout the small walls of the studio. Within seconds Boris had taken to the stage, accompanied by touring and occasional recording guitarist, Michio Kurihara. The band tuned their instruments and busted out Pink opener, Farewell.

Rainbow, the titular track from the bands collaboration album with aforementioned guitarist Michio Kurihara followed. The piece demonstrated in its first half, guitarist Wata’s smooth, wispy vocals, mesmerizing the crowd with it’s subtle beauty and the second half, an astounding guitar solo from Kurihara generating heavy applause from the highly receptive crowd.

Leaving their slow songs behind, Boris busted out heavier songs, 8 and Message from two of their most recent releases, Smile and Heavy Rock Hits. In comparison to the two previous songs the band performed, 8 and Message seem like the work of a completely different band. In the first four songs, Boris showed the audience why they were so highly respected, not from their ability to swap genres, but from their ability to do it to perfection.

The band blasted through more crowd favourites from the beautiful epic, a bao a qu, the short and hectic 16:47:52 from the recent release, Heavy Rock Hits and Akirame Flower from the bands split EP with the band 9dw. Even throughout slow and minimalistic periods of their music, Boris never lost the attention of their audience, constantly enthralled in the beauty of their music, proving themselves as a truly special band.

Boris busted into crowd-pleaser Pink from the album of the same name to one of most ecstatic cheers from the crowd of the night. From the Flaming Lips fans to the guy with the Slayer shirt, everyone was extremely impressed, Boris had run through a set list to aiming to please all of their fans and had easily achieved this.

Drummer Atsuo took to his gong and summoned the crowd to raise their hands to what would be the bands final song, the audience very willingly complied. As the band played through their final song, summarizing their entire identity from metal; to ambient; to rock; to noise. The only thing that could possibly have upset punters was that they would probably have to wait some time to see Boris come back to Australia.

As the final song drew to a close, Atsuo stood on top of his drum kit and raised his hand in the air making the devil horns symbol, everyone in the audience, within seconds had also followed his lead and the command and respect the audience had for the band was evident. He spoke into the microphone saying “You guys awesome” before walking offstage whilst the three remaining guitarists treated the audience to a final bathe in the thick noise they had produced over the night.

After the band had left the stage, I spoke to several different fans outside the venue and not one was left disappointed by one of the most well executed and intimate shows to ever hit our shores. Boris can really be summarized in a single word – awesome.