Boris - ULU, London
Saade may only have twenty minutes not long after doors open, but the few who are down early enough are treated to a little flurry of boisterous stoner riffage from the Czech pair. Reminiscent of Kyuss and Fu Manchu, as well as clearly influenced by tonight’s headliners, they do a good job of getting everyone in the right mood.
Russian Circles guitarist Mike Sullivan may have enough effects for an army of axemen, and with a deft and ingenious use of looping pedals he is also able to sound like said horde. The band’s rhythm section are fine musicians, laying down a massive foundation, but all eyes and ears are on Mike as he casts his wondrous melodic spells over the audience.
With a set still heavily relying on the excellent second album Station, this is the sort of instrumental rock you can sing along to, and quite happily nestles in the brain for a long-term residence; in particular the closing ‘Death Rides A Horse’ from their phenomenal debut is Enter an absolute tour de force combining power and finesse that sends the now-packed ULU into a frenzy.
To follow up such a fine a display as that is some challenge, but madcap Japanese noisemongers Boris are able to do just that. Bolstered by second guitarist Michio Kurihara, the band sound simply huge as they tear into new tracks ‘Riot Sugar’ and ‘8’.
The first half of the set is very much focused on the punkier elements they have embraced fully in recent years, and even the likes of ‘Attention Please’ and ‘Spoon’ from the supposedly lighter of the two recent albums, with Wata’s ethereal voice slicing through the din, subsuming this feel in the live surroundings.
A quick dip back to the original Heavy Rocks album for '1970' and a blast through the truly excellent ‘My Neighbour Satan’ brings an end to this side of the Boris psyche, before they dive off into dronier waters with both new epics ‘Missing Pieces’ and ‘Aileron’.
The former especially is a showcase in the control of flow and mood whilst remaining brutally heavy at its deepest as the trio guitar assault kicks into overdrive; both tracks may be drawn out in comparison to their recorded versions, but such is the skill of the writing and execution that neither gives the impression of being overwrought.