Boris fails to capture Vancouver
Culture / October 19, 2011
By Kristi Alexandra
Oct. 11 at the Biltmore Cabaret
The Biltmore Cabaret, with its dark enclaves, maniacal trophy-headed bucks and near-medieval-inspired furniture, seems the perfect venue for a doom-psych party — and playing host to famed Japanese psych-sludge band Boris, along with guests Tera Melo and the Master Musicians of Bukkake, expectations were high.
Well, to be quite honest, a line-up of the above bands and their reputations doesn’t exactly elicit clear expectations — anything could happen — but you at least know that when you spend $23 on a three-band freak-metal bill on a Tuesday night, it’s going to be good.
At least you’d hope it would be.
Unfortunately, the freakiest part of the entire night is that it wasn’t satisfyingly freaky at all.
Save for the seven-piece Seattle band Master Musicians of Bukkake, who opened the evening with their brand of synthy psych-fuzz and tropic-sounding percussion that evokes images of a voodoo cult takeover, the evening was a snooze.
Tera Melo’s disjointed, uncoordinated songs had audience members wondering if their lack of timing and musicality was purposeful. One particularly miffed crowd member yelled toward the stage: “why do you guys hate music?!” The California band’s set failed to engage the crowd with its poor execution, sounding at times like a cheap, dissonant imitation of Built to Spill.
By the time the anxiously awaited Boris took stage just before midnight, the crowd was both bored and loaded.
The Japanese psych-rockers kicked off their set with “Riot Sugar”, a heavy fuzzed-out song that meanders into a slow, melodic jam. They followed it up with “8”, a surprisingly pop-rock-y tune.
The band kept the audience mostly captivated through atmospheric favourites from“Attention Please” to “Spoon”, which had most male fans drooling over vocalist-keyboardist Wata.
Still, Boris’ low-key performance could have been taken for laziness, as about a third of the audience disappeared throughout the band’s set.
Struggling to keep the crowd entertained, Boris kicked back into the sludge-punk “1970” from this year’s release Heavy Rocks. It was a steep wind-down to “Aileron”, which starts out dangerously minimalistic and develops into a slow, droney triumph.
By the end of the evening, Vancouverites had enough of the freakishly tame event and shuffled out of the cave-like Biltmore into the brisk-but-familiar Vancouver streets.