Review: Boris makes the floor shake with an intense show at WOW Hall
Eugene was a little bit louder than usual on Friday night thanks to a performance from the legendary Japanese experimental group Boris. The band made a stop at WOW Hall during its 25th anniversary tour in support of its new album “Dear.”
The night began with a beautiful and chaotic opening set from the noise rock band Endon. The five-piece band formed in Japan during the late 2000s, and Western audiences are beginning to take notice thanks to the group’s recent tours in the US.
Endon brought a tremendous amount of energy to the stage. The band’s lineup consists of a drummer, guitarist, and two dedicated noise-makers controlling a slew of various electronic devices. However, the highlight of Endon’s performance was vocalist Taichi Nagura, whose screeching voice pierced through the band’s brutal noise and shifting tempos.
Sumac took the stage next, featuring guitar and vocals from Aaron Turner –– a former member of the now-defunct post-metal group Isis. Sumac’s performance was hard-hitting. With only three members, the band encapsulated the entire venue with noise. The sound was sludgy, distorted and bass heavy.
Drummer Nick Yacyshyn guided the band through complex and dynamic rhythms on a colossal drum set. Yacyshyn had a deep kick drum and a selection of immense crash cymbals that rounded out the band’s sound with each hit. Turner’s guitar work was also impressive. At one point during the show, Turner took out what appeared to be a drumstick and hit the strings of his guitar to create a percussive chord sound, just before exploding into a riff-heavy jam. On top of this, Turner’s deep, gravelly vocals only added to the band’s heavy performance.
Sumac alone made the show worthwhile, but by the end of the set anticipation had grown as eager fans awaited Boris taking the stage. The audience then received a taste of what was soon to come as bassist Takeshi appeared for a loud soundcheck. Everything had been put into place, including sound equipment and a pair of projectors. The audience then prepped for the band’s performance by putting in their earplugs.
A few minutes later, all three members of the band –– Takeshi, Wata and Atsuo –– walked on stage as the audience applauded. The lights dimmed and a prelude of sorts was playing over the sound system. As the band struck its first note, a heavy cloud of fog rose from the ground. The sound was tremendously loud, and those in the audience could feel it physically vibrating their bodies. The whole room shook with the noise.
Boris powered through an hour-long set, performing their latest album “Dear” in its entirety. One highlight of the performance was “Absolutego,” the doomy, stoner metal anthem with a piercing guitar solo from Wata near the song’s end. Wata also contributed some of her softer vocals on “Beyond,” which started out quieter, giving a brief break in the noise, before diving back into a wall of sound.
Throughout the performance, drummer Atsuo made good use of a full drum set, frequently utilizing the enormous gong that hung behind him. Both Wata and Takeshi played through a huge stack of amps –– Takeshi with his signature double-necked bass. All of this allowed for an intensity in the music that could only be experienced live.
During some moments of the show, the tempo reached an incredibly slow pace with some notes lasting around ten seconds each. The music felt like waves crashing in slow motion. Near the end of the band’s final song “Dear,” tempo was forgone completely as the music devolved into a heavy drone.
After the set, the band came back up for a one-song encore. They performed “Farewell,” the opening track from 2005’s “Pink.” By the end of this fitting conclusion, it was nearly 1 AM. Fans of the band left the venue satisfied, as they walked out onto the quiet street.