"By the time we reach the equally punishing closer 'Farewell', it’s quite clear that Boris have easily won over this packed-out room."
Kicking off the evening, brash two-piece Hotel Wrecking City Traders set the tone by coming out of the gates loud, really loud. With Boris’ towering amp stacks serving as a constant reminder of what’s to come, Hotel Wrecking City Traders are still an integral part of the affair. As things progress, some tracks fail to stand up as defining moments, but the band deliver.
Following on, White Walls are a natural choice for tonight’s second support considering their love for all things loud and tonal. They are blistering and can be heard from every cranny of the building, much to the dismay of the punters upstairs who are trying to have a casual night watching the game. White Walls flow faultlessly from one song to the next and their energy matches the intensity of the music tenfold.
As Boris get their monolithic set-up in working order, we don’t feel we need to check the time because, considering the volume of this evening’s previous acts, we’re sure to know when it’s time to come in. Right? But then we’re shocked to enter the bandroom and see the headliners have already started. The main problem for Boris is the mix; the band get loud with their drone-y passages, but most of the more straightforward songs in their catalogue come across far too quiet and a little lifeless. As we reach the midpoint of the set, after a few louder moments, these problems ease up a bit and then we can appreciate the band. And for a group boasting 19 albums and a 20-plus year history, there’s a lot to admire. From their faultless professionalism/interplay (led in part by the wildly talented drummer/vocalist Atsuo) to the sheer exploration of musical boundaries – from the straight-up rock’n’roll of 1970 to the cybernetic J-pop sounds of Party Boy, for example. The bleak Aileron is a definite crowd-pleaser; chilling in its quiet moments, but pure punishment when louder. By the time we reach the equally punishing closer Farewell, it’s quite clear that Boris have easily won over this packed-out room.