Boris Performing Pink @ Bar Le Ritz PDB

Presented by Blue Skies Turn Black

On a muggy Wednesday night in August, C H R I S T and Boris played a sold out show at Bar Le Ritz PDB to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Boris' classic album, Pink.

The opening act was the local minimal instrumental post-metal band C H R I S T. They were covering for the grindcore band SHITSTORM, who could not come to any of the shows of the tour for unknown reasons (assuming their name not being mentioned in any of Boris' Facebook events despite being on the official tour poster meant that they could not come). Legendary drone metal pioneers Earth also could not show up, but they were not planning on playing in any of the two Canadian shows (the other one being at Lee's Palace in Toronto).

I've later noticed how great the one-two punch of SHITSTORM and Earth could have been. SHITSTORM has the raw energy of Boris' more straightforward songs, amplified and sped up tenfold; while Earth has been a major influence on Boris' early drone-heavy music. Interestingly, much like Boris, Earth has recently moved from their signature drone doom to a more organic, nuanced, stoner and post-rock influenced sound. Pink, the Boris album that is the basis of this tour, has all of these influences. In that respect, SHITSTORM and Earth are excellent picks for opening bands.

C H R I S T, in comparison, sounds much less oppressive, but still quite somber. Their entire performance felt to me like a huge build-up to their last song, with distorted guitars and booming percussions getting louder and louder, with layers of synths and guitars getting built on top of each other as the show continued. While I enjoyed the repetitive, relentless, almost hypnotic nature of the music, I could not help but feel a little disappointed by the show's climax, which did not have an explosion of on-stage energy, much to my dismay.

When C H R I S T finished their set, their equipment had to be loaded off the stage so that Boris' own could be prepared. That's when I noticed that two-thirds of the back of the stage was covered with amplifiers—there must have been a dozen of them for a three-piece band. That's also when I realized that they weren't messing around. This was going to be loud.

Takeshi, Wata, and Atsuo came on the stage, all dressed in black, and opted to play the first song off of Pink (which they performed in its entirety), titled "Farewell", at the very end of their set. Perhaps because they thought that the song would not fire up the crowd, perhaps because of its title. Nonetheless, the first song of the set, "Blackout", has a similar gloomy vibe, but it wasn't the "accept the darkness into your life" of "Farewell." It was more like "the darkness will devour you whole." To add to the effect, the smoke machine was consistently used during their more somber songs (including both "Farewell" and "Blackout"), shrouding the band with an air of mystery. Considering that my friend and I were in a packed and ridiculously hot place, the smoke also gave us the impression that they were trying to simulate a metalhead's vision of Hell.

Just as the feedback and fuzz rips apart your very being, the song abruptly cuts to make way to the title track, "Pink", a more upbeat, mosh pit friendly noise rock track. And mosh pits there were – as soon as Takeshi's familiar "OOWWWW!" resonated throughout the venue, I turned around and saw that the shovefest had begun. During later commotions, I also discovered that the only crowd surfer of the night (supposedly) was none other than CJLO's own Orin Loft, of The Noisy Loft.

Unfortunately, the vocals were buried beneath the other instruments. In contrast, Wata's guitar was crystal clear, Takeshi's bass and rhythm guitar (his double necked instrument had both of these in one) grooves could be felt in your bones, and Atsuo assured everyone that both his drumming and his performance would be memorable. The guitar solos interspersed throughout all the songs pierced your ears like a banshee's scream, despite the guitarist keeping a statue-like face during the entire show. The only times Wata has shown any kind of expression is a slight smirk when drummer/hype man Atsuo cheered her on for her stellar performance, and at the very end of the show, when hearing the audience's applause.

The sweaty mass of concert goers notwithstanding, Atsuo was by far the person who had the most fun during the night. He had the best "jam faces"—the only times his face was not contorted by a mix of joy and intense focus was when he was hyping up the audience, either by lifting up a single drumstick or the classic "I can't hear you!" gesture, banging the gong behind him louder and louder every time he would do it.

After the cheers clamoring "Boris! Boris! Boris!" and the encore that would ensue had faded out, I stepped out of the venue content, feeling almost cleansed by the sheer energy of the fans and the music. It was almost exactly what I expected: loud, fun, and alternating between oppressive walls of noise and crowd empowering walls of noise. You know you've done something right when you think of a hot, humid, smoky, and deafeningly loud place, and think: "Man, I wish I was in Hell again."


--DJ Lawrell hosts Fukubukuro every Sunday at 9PM, only on CJLO. With moods ranging from serene to hotblooded, light-hearted to upsetting, minimalistic to ear-shatteringly loud; the fun part of Fukubukuro is not knowing what you'll get every show.