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Boris @ Magic Stick (Concert Review by Nicolette L.)

This past Wednesday at the Magic Stick: Boris took the stage with opening act Nothing on their North American tour! Nothing is a band I’ve been aware of for a few years now but it was a pleasure being able to see them for the first time on this tour. Their really compelling mashing of several different styles made for a really moving live performance. To describe their sound in an overly-simplified manner, they kinda sound as if Amenra listened to a lot more Slowdive. Heavy, crushing, but with a wonderful knack for melody, traits of the band which shone through very clearly live. They opened the set with several really intense tracks, displaying drastic dynamic shifts within songs that were nothing short of captivating. The group would cut out for a few seconds, a single instrument strumming a moody chord progression, before suddenly they’d all crash in as loud as ever. Even the pit would take a second to pause in awe at these moments! As the set progressed they brought in slower, more atmospheric songs, it was here where the Slowdive influence really came through. I do sorta wish the vocals were mixed a little higher in the venue. Especially in the quieter moments where the vocals were intended to be at the front of the music, not being able to hear the harmonies between the multiple vocalists was a little disappointing. Nonetheless, they finished off strong with another couple of heavy-hitters. Overall an excellent performance, marred ever so slightly by a few technical issues.

Boris was next and let me just say…holy fuck! I don’t even know where to begin. First off to preface, I would like to say that I hadn’t listened to the last two records they put out prior to coming to the show, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into the show, but I was beyond pleasantly surprised with what they showed off here. They came out the gates flying, with one lightning fast track after another, in that very characteristic blend of old-school thrash metal and sludgy doom that they have been exploring on their last few records. The energy was explosive, only heightened by the group’s unbelievable stage presence. Atsuo’s vocals were commanding and anthemic, and he moved around the stage and interacted with the audience with the mythical air that boomers talk about when they bring up seeing the Stones in ‘73. The other members were nothing to gawk at either. Wata and Takeshi were both amazing, bringing the ruckus with their setups. Standing by the PAs through all of that had to have done something to my ears long-term because this might be the heaviest show I’ve ever been to. The variety the group showed off here was really impressive, transitioning very smoothly from song to song with drone metal interludes, and eventually even going into a bit of harsh noise near the end of the set. All throughout they maintained the same energy. All leading up to the final track they performed, “(not) Last Song”, which is the final track off of “Heavy Rocks(2022)” and a wonderful way to close out the set. Stylistically it is very different from the other songs they performed, a piano ballad that’s constantly simmering on the verge of exploding into feedback-heavy noise, with Atsuo’s hypnotizingly passionate vocals soaring through the room. Those who’ve listened to the record would know that the album version of the song builds at the end, but cuts off right as the band is about to rip into a breakdown. It’s a really poignant moment on the album, but I’m so grateful the live performance picks up where the recorded version ends at, leading to one of the loudest and most emotionally powerful few minutes of the entire night. BORIS FOREVER!!!!!

 Review and Photo by Nicolette L

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