There will be blood! Boris strolled into the Knitting Factory last night like the Four Horsemen, shredding and slinging their giant guitars like weapons of mass destruction. The Orange and Sunn cabinets towered high into the ceiling, the stage floor was littered with steel pedals like miniature land mines, and the drumset had the footprint of a minivan. More importantly, there was enough fog for a reshoot of Apocalypse Now. All of which served as the visual backdrop to Boris’ pummeling auditory assault, which lasted for nearly two hours (I’m still reeling). It was nothing short of massively epic, and the crowd devil-horned and fist-pumped with every Herculean octave sweep Takeshi ripped off his jet-black double-neck guitar.
They opened with the monstrously loud “Farewell,” off the recent Pink album. Just seconds in, the Knitting Factory turned into Witch Mountain, with slabs of thick fuzz and infinity sustain beheading everyone all the way to the back corners of the venue. With their new album Smile due out this month, they chose to play a good amount of new material (“Buzz-In,” “Statement,” “You Were Holding An Umbrella”) to great response. Celebrated guitarist Michio Kurihara (Ghost, White Heaven) has been playing with Boris recently, adding a thicker sonic layer to the threesome’s already titanic wall of noise. Takeshi handles bass/guitar/front man/hairdresser duties, while the Orange monolith belongs to lead guitarist Wata, who stands about three feet shorter than her amp stack at five feet and never seems to break a sweat (the idea of Wata pointing at her 300lb oak tree rig for a roadie to be hauled out is Simpsons material). The ferocious drummer Atsuo serves as the band’s sparkplug, and he was routinely amping up the crowd with drumstick pointing throughout the night.
The last time I saw Boris was at the Music Hall in Brooklyn about six months ago, and while they were good, they simply were not as feverish as they were Tuesday night. The riffs came off 200% more blistering at the Knitting Factory. Maybe it was the hiked volume in a smaller venue or the endless pillows of brimstone smoke, but they just seemed more dialed in this time. The slow, meditative sections were more deliberate and moody, and the racecar shred parts were impossibly frantic (“Pink” was sheer mayhem). They closed the night with a combination medley of “Just Abandoned Myself” and “Full Song,” the kaleidoscope-ish last tracks off their last two albums. And what seems to be per usual at the end of a Boris show, Atsuo bangs the gong and then gleefully stage-dives into the crowd as the feedback buzz roars louder and louder. Even colossal doom needs an ending, right?
Photos by Gabirel Kuo