Show Review: BORIS @ The Paradise Rock Club 8.9.16

by Tim DiFazio, English, published October 5th 2016

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I picked a rough night to forget my earplugs. On August ninth, three-piece Japanese metal band Boris tore the roof off of the paradise and left me near-deaf for days to follow. Their explosive performance of their now-classic 2006 album Pink brought an energy and charisma that smashed through the language barrier and delivered well over an hour of pure unbridled hype.

That being said, Boris were by no means the only great performance of the night. Veteran drone metal pioneers Earth were the first to take the stage. Sporting cowboy hats and chest-length beards, guitarist Dylan Carlson and bassist Don McGreevy brought forth a far more massive sound than anyone would reasonably expect from a stripped-down two-piece. In many ways, Earth is the perfect band to open for Boris. Their rumbling, dream-like compositions drew the audience into the music in a way that felt like an extended version of the effect that BORIS has in beginning Pink with “Farewell”. Placing the audience in a trance makes the red-hot metal of the rest of Pink feel that much more visceral and infectious.

From the moment Boris stepped on stage, their incredible presence took over the room. Particularly of note was drummer Atsuo who, clad in dark eyeliner and and black, flowy clothing, hit the audience with one of the most impressive death-stares I’ve ever seen and directed their cheering with deliberate, pointed motions of his drumstick. Frontman Takeshi brought his signature double neck and lead guitarist Wata, with her stoic posture and bangs flowing over her eyes, completed Boris’s too-cool-for-the-room aesthetic.

To this day, however, Boris have never been too cool for their fans. The show drew out a massive, diverse crowd as hipsters, music writers, and metalheads came together for the once-in-a-lifetime tour. Throughout Earth’s set and Boris’s slow opening track, “Blackout”, the audience was calm but highly engaged. When Takeshi started the iconic bass line from “Pink”, however, a serious mosh pit formed that didn’t disappear for the rest of the night. I had worried that a Boston crowd might struggle to match the intensity of Pink, but these fans seriously brought the energy.

The set was an interesting one – though they did perform everything from the original tracklist, it was done in a strange order, starting with “Blackout” instead of “Farewell” and including bonus tracks “Are You Ready?” and “N.F. Sorrow”. The changing of the tracklist allowed Boris to play the whole album without losing the spontaneity and anticipation that comes with not knowing what an artist will play next. It allowed for a new look at a classic album and brought up the already sky-high hype levels. By the time Boris launched into their iconic twenty-minute banger “Just Abandoned Myself”, they had already played one of the most intensely energetic sets I’ve ever seen. The fact that they managed to turn it up even more had me worried that the venue might actually implode.

Extended drone jam “Farewell” capped off the massive set, followed by a double-encore including ultra-deep cuts “Memento Mori” and “Killmeister”. If they could have, I’m sure the audience would have tried to get them to play eight more encores. Even if you’ve never heard of Boris, as long as you can appreciate loud, virtuosic rock and a no-holds-barred performance, this is not a show to miss.

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