Rock 'n' Roll. Many say it's dead, a rotting corpse that was only living around the time when our parents were young. If you fall into this category of non-believers, then there may be hope. Forget Wolfmother or any other flavor of the week "savior of rock;" Japanese rockers Boris are the real deal. They have only recently started making a dent in the U.S., but have been at it for years in their home country, releasing numerous albums and splits throughout their career. I was lucky enough to catch their sold out show, along with around 200 others, at the Middle East Club in Cambridge, MA and somehow came out with my hearing intact.
Ocean started off the show, with their slow, Isis-inspired drone that prepared the crowd for what was to come. Filled with crashing cymbals and thundering bass, Ocean hypnotized the crowd with their mesmerizing, slowed down heaviness, but were still able to amp up the noise during their louder, more intense moments. The lead singer growled into the microphone occasionally, adding an eerie, but necessary, effect to the music that only made it sound even more sinister.
Next up was Pearls & Brass, a mix of early `90s alternative rock and straight up Black Sabbath-inspired metal. Although their set had slight technical problems, the threesome still rocked the room with their loud riffs and classic rock style vocals. The drummer pounded away on his set while staring off into space, fitting in with the band's stoner-esque jams, and proved to be the rhythmic backbone of the group. The two extra members split vocal duties, but both showcased their talents on guitar by adding in some great riffage throughout their songs. Pearls & Brass were definitely the right kind of band to open for Boris and showed that with their talent and skill, they will be a band that a lot of people will be talking about in the coming months.
The Orange amps had lined the stage all night, begging to be used. The giant gong sat, lying in wait to be pounded on, and prompting the audience to wonder, "Are they actually going to use that thing?!" The room was filled with energy and anxiety as the audience waited for Boris to take the stage and make use of the equipment that had sat there all night taunting them. Drummer Atsuo started off the set by yelling at the crowd while smashing the golden gong behind his set while the crowd roared. The band then ripped into some selections from their newest, Pink, including the title track, "Woman on the Screen" and some slowed down songs, such as "Farewell." Although they started off slow, the group took their time and eventually flowed into their faster songs with ease. Takeshi, guitarist and bassist, performed double duty with his dual-neck guitar and didn't miss a single note while switching between the two. The crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves, while audience members threw up "the horns," banged their heads, and moved during the fast-paced rock and slowed down drone that Boris emitted from the stage. The highlights of the show came during the band's performances of "Just Abandon Myself" and the standout track "Electric," both off the new album. The group ripped through "Electric" during the encore and the members never relented with their sonic assault. When the band finished for good, they left the crowd slightly more hearing impaired and wanting more. After leaving the stage, guitarist Takeshi walked up to the sound booth, yelled at the soundman in Japanese, kicked a garbage can, and stormed off to somewhere in the club while the crowd watched, wondering what was going on. Now if that doesn't encapsulate the true rock 'n' roll spirit, I don't know what does. However, I do know that Boris are at the forefront of the rock world and are poised to take over, slowly but surely.