The Boredoms at the Paradise Rock Club, March 29, 2008
EARTH AND SPACE: Boredoms brought tribal rapture to the Paradise.
A friend of mine has a six-year-old son who has named each of his testicles. He calls one “Earth” and the other “Space.” This visionary child was in my thoughts on Saturday night as I watched Yamantaka Eye, diminutive and thick-locked high priest of Japan’s Boredoms, stand on stage at the Paradise with an illuminated orb in each hand and perform an introductory rite. These orbs had sonic properties: by raising or lowering them, Eye could produce sizzles and blasts of raw noise. He would hold them high, as if presenting them to the gods, and then with a shout, a roar, or an ululation, his head thrown back, plunge them earthward.
The Paradise quaked: this was some legendary shit. As the band have passed in their 20-year career from yelping Beefheart punk to propulsive space opera, the name of Boredoms has gradually become a signifier for a particular kind of tribal rapture — a noise-rock Grateful Dead. But no jamming here, no noodling. With Eye’s energy-summoning rite concluded, three full-kit drummers joined him on stage and commenced an exquisitely well-drilled interaction. The rhythms were broken at first, discontinuous. “I just wanna dance!” yelled a woman somewhere in the club. “Fuck you!” came the unchivalrous rejoinder, from somewhere else. But gradually, driven by the yelps and imprecations of Eye and by his punctual attacks on his machine “Sevena” (a guitar with seven necks) with a stick the length of a broom handle, the sound became full-blown. Boredoms are crescendo addicts, with the supernatural stamina of the truly hooked: the music built, crashed, built, crashed, in relentless sheets and power chords. Elements of traditional Japanese taiko drumming came and went beneath the wizard din of “Sevena”; here and there chaos seemed to alight, but then the drummers, crisply unified, would pick out an under-rhythm and carry on. Earth, if you like, met Space.
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