Relentless Garage
17th May 2010
Written by Elizabeth Flanagan
Photography by Lorna Ransome

Floor Shaker
A Bao a Qu
Akirame Flower
-Song Taken from Smile-

Piling into London Garage, hundreds of people enter the venue that is already smothered from a smoke machine. Not the smoke that makes things look mysterious and intriguing, the smoke that hurts your eyes after ten minutes and leaves you gasping for air when just going to the toilet.

 The venue is packed with hundreds of people, but they don’t look anything like the ‘normal’ Japanese music fans. No signs of arm warmers, crucifixes or brothel creepers. Normal people that you see in the high street, jeans and tee shirts with an old pair of ‘comfy’ shoes on. Surely this means a Japanese band have finally cracked a market beyond the normal clique?

A gong and double neck bass is barely visible through the smoke on the stage. Howling is heard- not seen, well how could they be seen? The lights turn to a black out as the members take Garage’s stage, a tiny patter of applause stirs from the bustling crowd that reaches the packed bar at the rear of the room.

Vocalist Takeshi rises upon the stage to screams, as drummer Atsuo strikes a ringing tone on the back gong.

Ghost like drones echo out from Wata’s guitar, creating an almost- eerie opening, breaking into a heavy, heart stealing tease. A titter of head banging stalks the audience as the band attempt to chase an ethereal sound. Yet they do still seem to be confused as to why there are four people stood on the stage when Boris are known for being a three piece, this is never explained to the fans who have paid to see them.

On the good side, Boris include a deafening depth to their music, with Takeshi’s basslines being thoroughly in synch with Atsuo’s kick drum. The band’s melodies are almost frightening with obsessive use of their Waawaa pedal, torturing their instruments, and their fans interest.

The sound of applause is all that can be heard at the end of each ‘song’, no cheers or screams. No pleading of the band members names that so often occurs at lives. Broken into by a thick drum beat, a scoring guitar that screeches like a stripper’s nails down a chalkboard, Wata’s vocals offer some form of consolation by soothing the audience to their graves.

Boris seem nonchalant to be on the stage in London’s Garage. Throughout the whole performance there is a horrifying lack of motion and stage presence, almost so that you forget you’re actually at a gig. With no movement around the stage, Boris fail to capture it and make it their own. No interaction with the fans besides literally playing their music and finishing is nothing without getting your fans involved.

A decent attempt to bring their personal style of performance in Japan to the UK was a bold move, that didn’t necessarily work. Strong guitar lines and a thick drum beat always manages to please the majority of people. Remember, One man’s poison is another man’s feast.