Prolific Japanese band Boris plays the QSW on Friday
Greetings and salutations Shanghai. Much respect to the organizers of Lady Fest who did a bang up job providing multiple art, music, and workshop events on Saturday. Also kudos to Santo Chino for making everyone fall asleep at his Space Out afternoon delight that featured Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume 2. A unique listening experience that’s held at the live venue OnStage.
This month has over 100 good music gigs around town. Every year I’m blown away how we go from nearly nothing in February to boatloads of music outlets in March. This week I’m going to narrow down my picks to four for the sharing. Friday from Japan we have a show from legendary experimental rock band Boris at the QSW. Also on Friday marks the return of Korean based freakout act Ssighborggg at the ever intimate Yuyintang. Then Saturday a special treat out of New Zealand from Conch Records with DJ Cian O’Donnell laying down an eclectic vinyl-only set at The Shelter. Finally I’m going to leave you with Friday's Air Supply show at Plus Space simply because they created the best outro track ever known to man and are playing this week as well. You could literally play "All Out of Love" as the last song of any house party, trance rave, goth ball, or hip hop battle and everyone in the joint would go apeshit. It's a fact – 30 Helens agree.
Well I didn’t think anything could top last month's Swans concert but we got a real contender here with Boris on Friday. They are one of the hardest, most innovative, and artistically respectful bands to emerge from the Japanese 90’s rock scene. With the release of last year’s album Noise, their 19th full length, it’s clear that after 20 years of blowing out eardrums Boris still has the chops. Personally they mean so much because of the incorporation of my favorite genres into one act. I’m talking psych rock, crust punk, doom / sludge metal, shoegaze, and more. The name Boris comes from a Melvin's song. In fact, Boris were the first ones to interview The Melvins in Japan, exposing their countryman to a new brand of insanity.
It also doesn’t hurt that the band is fronted by one of the hottest women in rock, Wata, playing guitar and keyboards along with providing vocals. How can someone so beautiful make something so evil? Drummer Atsuo is the backbone of Boris, providing primal screams and yelps while masterfully banging his heart out on those skins. Bassist, guitarist, and vocalist Takeshi is the contemplative philosopher of the group laying down the double necked drone and rumble bass.
Boris is also famous for their collaborations with artists like Merzbow, Japan’s most prolific noise artist, who has released over 400 pieces since 1979. Man let’s get Merzbow out to Shanghai. Another popular collaboration was their album Altar, featuring American doom band Sunn O))). That’s just a big ole warm ball of sludge.
Not to be pigeonholed, Boris also produce pop friendly tunes like the track "Yaiyo no Baka" off their latest album Noise to juxtapose their evil side. This ability to evolve and devolve into multiple genres has allowed the band to slowly build up a loyal and ever-expanding fan base. I can’t flipping wait to see what they throw down this Friday.
Boris – "Amplifier Worship"
Boris – "太陽のバカ (Taiyo no Baka)"
Two expat boys from North California and now living in Seoul make up the experience that is Ssighborggg. Self tagged as cerebral IDM math rock you have Sean Maylone on guitars and keyboards while De Anthony Nelson Jr. backs it up on drums. Any math rock band with Northern California roots are instantly going to be compared to Hella, who really blew fire into the genre during the early 2000s. Recently Ssighborggg added live drums to the line-up. While having drums does push them closer to a Hella like style Sean’s ability to combine his guitar work while at the same time playing multiple keyboards gives the band a very distinct feel.
Another comparison that comes naturally is the experimental rock band Battles, whose front man Ian Williams also pulls off playing guitar and keyboard at the same time. Even though their styles are different both bands have the ability to push the usually boring indie rock crowd into a dance fever. I’m actually sad this is on the same night as Boris because I would love to check out the band's new formation with a drummer. If the sludgy doom metal of Boris is not your scene make sure to hit up this YYT show which will promise to be slightly more up-tempo.
Ssighborggg – "Bring It Up"
Ssighborggg – "Kettle Pebble George"
Saturday night we take things down to the club with Auckland’s Conch Record Shop found Cian O’Donell, who is playing a vinyl only set (Booooo) at The Shelter. After moving to New Zealand via England in 1989, O’Donnell has been of the biggest supporters of locally grown music, providing regular DJ nights along with a community outlet from the Conch record store. His longest running night is called The Turnaround, which has been going 13 years now. During a time in the 1990s, O’Donnell lived in San Francisco and worked for my favorite record store called Groove Merchant on Haight Street. If you are ever in San Francisco and are a fan of early breaks, funk, and experimental music then take the time and stop by Groove Merchant as it will blow your mind.
Along with supporting local kiwi acts Cian has worked with the likes of Kruder & Dorfmeister, Kenny Dope, Derrick May, and Kid Koala. This booking is a real treat to the ever expanding lineup of acts that are centered around a more eclectic sound as opposed to techno club bangers. Expect an upbeat night with rare tunes and party jams all rolled up in one fun package.
Cian O’Donell – Live Set for Studio APLUS
Finally, if the doom metal of Boris or the dance rock of Ssighborggg is not your bag then get your Air Supply tickets here. Hey, no shame in your game. Again best outro song ever written, go ahead and call ‘er a day good buddy.
"All Out Of Love"
I'm lying alone with my head on the phone
Thinking of you till it hurts
I know you hurt too but what else can we do
Tormented and torn apart
I wish I could carry your smile in my heart
For times when my life seems so low
It would make me believe what tomorrow could bring
When today doesn't really know, doesn't really know
I'm all out of love, I'm so lost without you
I know you were right, believing for so long
I'm all out of love, what am I without you
I can't be too late to say I was so wrong
I want you to come back and carry me home
Away from these long, lonely nights
I'm reaching for you, are you feeling it too?
does the feeling seem oh, so right?
And what would you say if I called on you now
And said that I can't hold on?
There's no easy way, it gets harder each day
Please love me or I'll be gone, I'll be gone
Ooh, what are you thinking of
What are you thinking of
Air Supply - "All Out Of Love"