Absolutego: Boris live in Lawrence, KS 10/19/17

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Boris is a Japanese trio that has been making music since 1992 and in the 25 years of their existence, they’ve released just as many albums and have explored just as many genres. It’s nearly impossible to define a group that leapfrogs from drone and doom metal to stoner rock and pop music – along with just about everything in between. Since signing to metal label Southern Lord in the mid-2000′s, Boris has enjoyed success from both fans and critics with releases such as “Altar” – a collaboration with drone giants Sunn O))) – and several collaborations with the biggest noise superstar in the world Merzbow. After 2015 and 2016 which saw the release of ten (!!!) different records, Boris put out their most recent album “Dear” in July of this year, making 2017 a rare time in the life of Boris where they only had one official release. The Japanese trio brought their Dear tour to the Granada in Lawrence on Thursday night to a small but extremely lucky crowd full of fans.

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With the stage submerged in just about as much smoke as the Granada could muster, Boris began their set performing “Dear” in its entirety. Over an hour in length, “Dear” is a bit of return to form after their more experimental and sort-of rock-oriented last few releases – the night was punctuated with huge, drawn-out extended riffs and droning chords – at one point guitarist Wata put down her guitar for an accordion instead that just provided a haunting funeral-like wafting of melody behind somber guitars from bassist/guitarist Takeshi while drummer Atsuo banged on a giant Zildjian gong behind his kit. The group also made use of electronics with a pulsating beat replaced all drums for one track. Drummer Atsuo wore a headset microphone to provide some vocals but it didn’t stop him from putting one foot on his bass drum while moaning and shrieking into a handheld contact mic he had with him – just another one of the myriad of ways Boris incorporates everything but typical rock music into their act.

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Boris had a scheduled date at the Granada last year for the 10th anniversary of their breakthrough album “Pink” – which they were set to play in its entirety – but the date was canceled due to Atsuo’s sickness. When Boris came back on stage for their encore, Atsuo mentioned this and apologized to some applause before launching into three “Pink” songs – the speedy and heavy title track plus “Woman on the Screen” before ending the night with a spacey rendition of the album opener “Farewell.” These 3 songs from one of Boris’ most complete albums shows just how far they’ve come since 2006 – while they incorporate subtlety and massive vastness into their music now, they aren’t above to jamming out and making people headbang. One of the most eclectic heavy bands of the last twenty years and one of the best going forward undoubtedly.

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Two groups that exemplified the incorporation of post-rock and post-metal into their more straight-forward counterparts opened the show. Direct support fell to Subrosa, a Salt Lake City group that has been making headlines in the past few years with their interesting take on doom and sludge metal by way of melding their heaviness with two violinists. Multiple times throughout their set, there was almost complete silence in the Granada save for a lone guitar and some hushed vocals before each instrument crashed back in, creating a heavy, distorted, crunching cacophony with beautiful, subdued violins layered underneath. A very unique take and a great spin on traditional doom metal. The opening band (and possibly the loudest band on an already extremely loud bill) were Japanese group Endon. Endon can really only be described as the melding of bands Thou and Converge with a heavy harsh noise influence. The frontman was really the only vocalist of the night to do any sort of harsh vocals and the post-hardcore influence in their sound was abundant. Instead of a bassist, the group employed two noise-musicians – one with a traditional (at least, as traditional as harsh noise can be) set up full of pedals and knobs, and one that used something that can only be described as looking like a small briefcase/chalkboard with a single amplified string crudely fashioned to it that he strummed at wildly – at the apex of their set, he smashed the makeshift instrument onto the floor in the crowd (don’t worry – no one got hurt) to really put an exclamation point on their already emotional set. Endon may have been an opening band but their performance was one of the best of the year.

Boris set:

  • D.O.W.N. -Domination of Waiting Noise-
  • Deadsong
  • Absolutego
  • Beyond
  • Kagero
  • Biotope
  • The Power
  • Memento Mori
  • Distopia Vanishing Point
  • Dear
  • —-
  • Pink
  • Woman On The Screen
  • Farewell

SubRosa set:

  • Black Majesty
  • Wound of the Warden
  • The Usher

About Jackson May

Read more from Jackson at Mandatory Metallica and follow him on Twitter at @Mankvill.

View all articles by Jackson May

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