When the main act is a Japanese noise band that’s been kicking around for 20 odd years, the task of finding the perfect support band can’t be easy.
Yet Holy Balm proved to be the perfect opening for the Monday evening in question, as the trio created immense soundscapes with few instruments and a definitive focus on percussion. As the vocals whirled and echoed, the keyboard riffs drew influences from genres far and wide, whether it be the staccato style of New Order or pure chaotic synth. It’ll be fantastic to see where the band take their sound in the near future.
Those in attendance hadn’t come to hear a particular song or relive a past album, but rather to witness what Boredoms do live. More specifically, the enigmatic and all consuming presence of frontman (the term being used very loosely) Yamatsuka Eye and drummer Yoshimi P-We, the two longest standing members of the band. Joined by numerous band members including the thunderous Zach Hill, from the moment they appeared on stage, noise blanketed the half curtained off room and annihilated the audiences’ senses.
A Boredoms show is not your traditional song by song gig. The set is seamless, there are barely any breaks and – oh yeah – there’s six drummers on the stage. One of whom was actually carried to the stage from the other side of the venue upon a platform, pausing mid-crowd to engage in a drumming tennis match with those on stage.
Eye acted as orchestrator and conductor, moving from behind his deck to contort and flail wildly at the stage front, his vocal gymnastics instantly emotive yet entirely unintelligible. Between the screeches and belows he stretched his arms in different directions, calling his bandmates to play louder, softer, faster, slower, in any and all ways possible. And the superhuman manner in which the drummers perform is mesmerising.
Yoshimi led the drum beats, a silent count emanating between all six, timed so perfectly it seems impossible that it wasn’t calculated to the second. The noise created by the insistent deep percussion was assisted by sparse guitar work and the addition of Eye slamming a metal pipe against oddly constructed 7 neck guitars that stood upright behind him. The force of his blows saw them sway precariously as he yelped with each stroke, powered on by the beat that never stalled or faltered.
By the time the encore concluded, all were gobsmacked. And the ringing in audiences’ ears for days to come would be a reminder of Boredoms’ obliterating noise.