The Fleece, Bristol | October 10th
Bo Ningen have been making quite a noise in the east London underground scene over the past few years. Originally from Japan, Taigen (vocals, bass), Kohhei (guitar), Yuki (guitar) and Mon-Chen (drums) create music with an experimental range of influences, embracing psychedelia, krautrock and metal. Their androgynous dress sense, skinny frames and waist length hair help define this band as something special amongst the myriad of cookie cutter cool kid London bands.
This forty five minute set found the band conjuring the spirits through the medium of sonic abuse. Self confessed “enlightenment activist” Taigen twists and waves his hands as if summoning the music from the heavens, and we are drawn into the ritual instantly. Maguro verges on the sort of chaos the Butthole Surfers would be proud of, a stoner stomp with insistent soloing until the whole thing slows to a (seemingly) never-ending noise filled crescendo that took our breath away.
Single Henkan is a fast and furious heart attack of a song that shows off this band’s knack for taking underground hardcore into a fresh direction, whilst Nichijyou and Koroshitai Kimochi from their eponymous debut sound visceral live, raising the hairs on the back of collective necks. Psychedelic flourishes really lift the songs and inject proceedings with the required sense of elevation, breaking some of the more standard song structures to pieces.
Although the crowd are a little static, the looks on faces are priceless. Mouths agog, eyes wide taking in the continuously inventive take on what has been in danger of becoming something of a formulaic genre. The heaps of praise being laid on these guys is understandable given the unique way they twist and subvert their chosen musical style. Whilst there is none of the instrument trashing which has become synonymous with their live shows, the crowd are left in no doubt we’ve witnessed a band that truly have carved out their vision of enlightenment and expression.
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Words: Philip Allen