Monday, July 14, 2008

Amplifier worship

I walked into Babylon about 7:30 p.m. On stage are several Marshall and Orange cabs, forming a veritable wall of wattage. Atop them sit heads from Marshall, Orange, Peavey and Sunn. Behind them, yet more amplifiers. Sandwiched between them: a gong. Yup, this is the Boris, Torche and Nachtmystium show all right! I've been to many shows where earplugs were essential (unfortunately for my hearing, I didn't have them for that Modey Lemon show at the Dominion), but this was the first gig I've been at where I was glad the plugs were there not only for my eardrums, but as extra bracing to stop my ears being ripped clean off my head. I did have some mixed feelings going into this show. I was thrilled to hear that Wolves In The Throne Room were on the bill, and was a trifle grumbly when I discovered they'd been replaced by Nachtmystium.

Nachtmystium, Babylon, July 13, 2008

No worries though, Nachtmystium wrought a mighty noise, good enough for me to pick up their most recent album after the show. Their monstrous riffs reminded me of High On Fire - that's always a good thing. Some of the vocals, too.

Torche, Babylon, July 13, 2008

Torche kicked out an enormous racket as well. They may have been the loudest band on stage. They started off with a double jump and began laying down slabs of rock. Something about their onstage demeanor makes me think they have a background in hardcore punk - and it's not just the short haircuts on three-quarters of the band. Maybe it was singer-guitarist Steve Brooks' Cheshire Cat grin. While this was an awesome show, there was something missing: I couldn't hear any vocals at all, a real shame considering how good Brooks sounds on record. Well, they don't have any shortcomings as an instrumental group. Their drum-kit demolishing finale was fun as well.

Boris, Babylon, July 13, 2008

Finally, Boris came on to wreak destruction. They only had an hour and 15 minutes - about the time it would take to play Flood in its entirety - but they still managed an impressive romp through such killer tunes as Floorshaker, Pink and Statement. The band's crew asked all the photographers in the audience to not use flash, so some of these photos are a little dark, but on the plus side they turned up the lights quite a bit. That may be because a smoke machine is an essential part of a Boris set, along with classic rock histrionics, drummer Atsuo Mizuni going "woo!" into his microphone at every opportunity and, of course, the gong.

Michio Kurihara, Babylon, July 13, 2008

As a bonus - a big bonus to a Ghost and White Heaven fan like me - Japanese guitar god Michio Kurihara was with the band for this tour. He completely killed, even if his two Fender Deluxe Reverbs look a little diminutive next to the rest of the bands' towering backline.

Boris with Michio Kurihara, Babylon, July 13, 2008

Since everything was so red I shot a few high contrast black and white shots that appear to have turned out well. Atsuo stood on top of his kit, beckoning to the crowd as the show came to its end, and surfed out over the audience as Wata and Takeshi rocked out. It looked like a full house, which is a good thing - the extra padding may have helped to keep the volume outside the club with bylaw limits.


Jes Kennedy Lacasse said...

Michael's comment on returning home last night was, "Zee earplugs, zey did NOTHING!"

A.C. said...

There were people near the front who weren't wearing earplugs at all - I'm guessing they'll be communicating via gesture for the next week or so.

Anonymous said...

I forgot mine... biggest mistake I've ever made. Including that abortion!

Anonymous said...

Yeah in front with no earplugs is really the way to do things at a boris show, so far after one show i had a week of ringing ears, after another only three or four days, lets see if anyone can break the week mark.