Buzzed Bands Podcast, Ep. 2 w/ Cold Blood Club

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Boredoms: Boadrum 9

Kenya went to Boadrum 9 at Terminal 5 last week. It was her first time seeing Boredoms.

Boredoms Present 99 Boadrum @ Terminal 5
w/ Special Guest Lichens

So, it took me a few days to process what I witnessed at Terminal 5 the other night. I had no clue of who Boredoms were and definitely hadn't heard of this fellow Lichens either. But now that I've witnessed them each in action, I feel as though I won't likely be forgetting them. Boredoms I don't think anybody could be accused of forgetting just for the spectacle and elation they leave in their wake. Lichens' artistry though, burns an imprint into your psyche, so the damage is permanent. Dude sort of side swiped me, and that is a rare thing nowadays.


I didn't know where this dude came from, so I did a little digging. His name is Robert Lowe. He apparently used to play bass for 90 Day Men. Around 2004, after the band released Panda Park, they sort of called it quits. Lowe then began to pursue a solo career. Ambient, experimental deep-listening mood music is what he has produced thus far. His vocalizing is wordless and makes up a great portion of each piece. I refer to them as 'pieces' because calling what he produces 'songs' seems too simplistic and underwhelming to me.

He performed one piece at Terminal 5. Opening for Boredoms to a completely captivated audience. The piece he performed seemed like a culmination of a few of the tracks from one or both of his albums (The Psychic Nature of Being and OMNS) because I couldn't find a single one that sounded exactly like what I heard on Wednesday. God Speed You Black Emperor popped into my head while I was listening to one of his pieces, the exasperatingly titled "M St R Ng W Tchcr Ft L V Ng N Sp R T". What he did for Boredoms seems like a merging of that with another piece of his called "Faeries". This is what it seems like to me, anyone who knows better, please correct me.

What the man did was sit in a chair, make some joke about being glad his microphone worked, and then remain there quietly, (meditating?) for what seemed like a few extra long minutes before opening his mouth and ushering forth sound. There were no instruments. No one else on stage with him. No players. He made sounds with his mouth that mimicked birds twittering in a forest. Chants as from some temple high on a mount somewhere. Then ghostly wails that pierced the very quiet, very still audience. The sounds would catch in some device he was using (I am quite stupid when it comes to knowing the names of these things and what they do properly). It caught his sounds and looped them, so that he was free to move to the next layer of sounds in order to sufficiently bring to life the piece he was creating right in front of our eyes. It started off quietly at first, then began ascending slowly until the whole building was filled, his voice echoing off the walls and the two empty upper levels.

He was exercising spirits up there. And nearly as soon as it began, it was over. We all came out of our daze long enough to applaud. He thanked us quietly, bowed gracefully and swept away. My descriptions does this guy no justice. He hasn't released an album since 2007, it seems. But if you ever have an opportunity to see him perform, do it man.


Apparently these dudes have been around a long time. Long enough to have impressed members of bands like Nirvana and Sonic Youth back in the 90s. They were formed in 1986 in Osaka, Japan. Their line-up has gone through a roster of changes since then. They make experimental indie noise rock using a variety of instruments (some improvised from parts of others) but the star of the show are the drums. I'm not going to go into their entire history though.

I want to get to the drums. And how there were nine of them. And how the lead singer (Yamataka Eye) played a wall of what looked like guitar (and sitar?) handles along with his synth keys. How he leaped in the air and screamed every five minutes. How the drummers played practically none stop with little more than a few seconds break at a time. Yamataka sort of the ring leader of this magnificent circus, giving cues, fading them out, fading them in. The man never lost his voice or his infinite energy, and neither did any of the drummers. Only two of which are apart of the actual band, the other seven extremely happy looking white guys so pumped up and jazzed to be a part of it, they did everything right and then some.

It fucking rocked. Noise rock isn't really my thing. But this sounded like a mash up of traditional Japanese battle music (complete with war cries) and alternative music. It was surprisingly pleasant to the ears and not nearly as inaccessible as one would think. At times intense and aggressive, a little maniacal, but in a good way; the whole thing could change directions quick-fast and lull you into a false sense of ease. Then Yamataka would scream, and cymbals would crash, and he'd jump and the drums would be off again. The coolest bit was how the main drummer (Yoshikawa Toyohito) was carried in from the back, through the crowd on a platform shouldered by revelers.

If Lichens was exercising spirits, these guys were exercising demons. They also win the award for most awesome encore ever. It went on forever, but it was worth it. Apparently it's a rare occurrence to see them play here in the States. Next time they cross the ocean and descend upon us from the east, be on the look out.

My tweeted three word review on the night of was "epic epic epic". BrooklynVegan picked that up and posted it along with eight others from Twitter to appropriately honor the night. They also have 99 amazing pics of the occasion. Head over there and check them out because I am the last reject on planet earth that doesn't have a picture taking device.

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