Man, Webster Hall was gross as all get-go last night; a million sweaty beards glistened in the disco lights. We arrived too late to see Torche, whom I’ve heard described as a kind of stoner rock but I think is a bit more shopping at the mall than smoking t’weed. We also missed Clouds, whom I’d never heard of, but seem kinda snappy.
Boris? It had more than a dash of what I’d imagine seeing Great White in a California rock club would have been like in the 1980s. The drummer was a whoopin’ and hollerin’ throughout the first half of their set – playing their overdriven cock-rock anthems with a furious tightness, he kept pointing his drumstick in the sky, at which point the entire middle of the crowd would howl with delight. Being old and cynical, it was very funny. Watching him nearly fall off his drumset after picking apart his kit during the heavy wall closer was an interesting coda as well.
Far more understated was guest Michio Kurihara, who is some kind of guitar genius, and he stayed largely motionless; only his hands fluttered and shook. Similarly still was tiny guitarist Wata, whose small frame barely moved throughout the set. It made for an interesting counterbalance for the first part of the night. The crowd seemed completely unfazed by the lack of English, especially during the first half’s meatstick bop numbers.
But halfway through their hour-and-forty set, the mood shifted and they played what seemed to be most of their new album, Smile, including tight renditions of “You Were Holding an Umbrella” and “My Neighbor Satan.” It ended with a scorched earth version of what I think was the untitled track that ends the US version of Smile, and was completely excellent.
Apparently Boris aren’t as big in Japan as they are in Europe and America, so being able to live out this intersection of indie cred and maximum rock n’ roll adoration is a kind of reward. I may not care for stage antics, but I can appreciate a well-deserved payoff; even when it comes in the form of a skinny Japanese man with a Brett Michaels haircut throwing up horns – and being greeted likewise – before tossing himself bodily in the crowd, only to be answered by dozens of adoring hands to carry him.