Live Review: Boris laura nikko hifi qld

5 April 2012 | 1:09 pm | Staff Writer

More Boris More Boris

Most punters are perched on the steps around The Hi-Fi's bottom floor as Nikko blast through a loud set of their emotive indie rock. While the drums are front and centre out of necessity, due to the headline band's impressive setup, it's fitting, as Blair Westbrook's fills and flails are captivating. Adam Cadell's violin adds a pastoral, noisy and whiney element, while occasionally the band's barrage of noise feels a little overwhelming without enough intuitiveness or creativity to make it stand out. Plenty of new material is aired and the closing salvo of The Warm Side somewhat familiar, though its lengthy intro and generally droney execution makes it a little tough to distinguish.

Changeover must be tough for Melbourne's Laura every time they play; so many members with so much equipment, it makes you wonder whether it's worth it. From the start of their set it's obvious their preferred brand of post-rock is soaring rather than lilting and they're brutally loud to boot. Though by their third song they're starting to prove that they can use dynamics rather than just brutally assault the ears and that's when it makes more sense, everything's more defined and you realise why they use two guitars as well as a cello and synths.

A bed of reversed cymbals and other electronic generated sounds welcomes Boris on stage before the band – tonight a four-piece – kick into Riot Sugar with gusto; their added guitarist looks shy in the corner of the stage, but his soaring lead breaks say enough. This is just the first example of the Japanese band's freakish ability to balance utter precision with guttural passion; while the songs are close to note perfect and a constant reminder of their deft musicianship, they play with an energy and power that means nothing they do sounds or feels contrived. The double necked half-bass/half-guitar that Takeshi wields front and centre brings glee to all and its sound is thick and powerful, driving these early, big-riff tunes with a strong arm.

The pulsating Attention Please brings the diminutive Wata to the spotlight, her sweet, haunting vocal chilling up against the taut groove of the rhythm section; just when you have them pegged as a psychedelic dream-pop band with tracks like that or Party Boy, they kick into a straight ahead indie gem like Flare or Spoon, before proceeding to bathe the audience in glorious, warm noise. And it is glorious, just harsh enough to make impact but not mindlessly brash. Pink is kicked off with furious pace and despite all we've seen tonight, it still stands out as one of their real crowning achievements but as that song ends the band seamlessly revert back to a lilting, tender mode, a final tinkle of the keys from Wata closes the set, the band leave the stage and you can't help but feel they know they've just blown our minds.

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