It’s been a year since Japanese experimental rock trio Boris visited Boston. They performed Tuesday night at Royale nightclub (formerly the Roxy), now with 3 new albums from 2011 to add to their already 17-disc catalog.
As a whole, their musical style varies from song to song, but for the most part it’s heavy, sludgy, dark, and sometimes mellow. They don’t like to be pigeonholed into one genre but are clearly influenced by bands like the Melvins (the name Boris comes from a Melvins song) Nick Cave, and UK metal band Venom.
A majority of the fans arrived after droning death metal openers Liturgy and the dream pop band Asobi Seksu. Fans filled the dance floor, and when Boris took the stage the fans that had been up front the whole night seemed to have a spark lit under them. Not quite a mosh pit but an intensely engaged group, energetic and deeply into the band.
While watching Boris, it’s clear they are very serious and passionate about their music. Three main members of the band are Atsuo, (drummer/backing vocalist/gong), Wata (guitar/keyboards and vocals) and Takeshi who plays a double neck combo bass and rhythm guitar and provides most of the lead male vocals. Completing the live lineup, Michio Kurihara also on guitar. Opening with “Riot Sugar” the heavy low tuned single from 2011’s Heavy Rocks (not to be confused with their 2002 album of the same title.) You could hear Takeshi’s vocals clearly with two extra speakers placed on each side of the stage. One highlight included Wata’s vocally driven “Spoon” from Attention Please, also released earlier this year, which features all singing by Wata. They barely paused during their 12-song set, apart from saying a quick “Hi Boston” and “Thank You.” Some other highlights were “Window Shopping,” and “1970.” The more appealing, grooving songs were the ones where Takeshi played the bass instead of guitar. With three guitars sounded a little noisier and less musical. Their set closed with the monumental 12-minute “Aileron,” appropriately wrapping up the set with a crowd-pleasing all-out rocker, that you can also find at the end of Heavy Rocks.
This was a great show for the fans into visceral, dark and, at times, noisy hard rock. Boris is a band that has passionate fans and reciprocates accordingly. Royale nightclub was a perfect setting for the band and had enough space for the fans. The HOPE 2011 world tour brings them to New York tonight, down the east coast; through Austin TX for Fun Fun Fun Fest, then over to California before heading back to Japan. Catch them if you can. Head over to their website for details. Also check out other photos of the performance here.