The Harley, Sheffield
added: 29 Oct 2012
// gig date: 15 Oct 2012
Now touring their second album, Line the Wall, Bo Ningen have already established themselves as an incendiary live act. For the uninitiated, Bo Ningen play a Japanese by-way-of Shoreditch take on super-charged psychedelia and art rock. It's almost all sung/screamed in Japanese by theatrically-influenced frontman Taigen, who's constructed a look that's somewhere between Joey Ramone and Samara from The Ring. (The band members often wear kimonos and have captured an other-worldly rock star look more effectively than about 99% of current bands you're likely to see - flamboyancy-wise, Hendrix would be proud.) Taigen gestured outlandishly throughout the gig - smiling transportedly one moment, gurning the next, before wailing and flailing in the white noise.
Despite their newly-extended repertoire of face-melters they played a really short set of about 8 songs, which kicked off blisteringly with Daikasei (a track in two parts that book-ended the gig). As they started up, Taigen seemed to be introducing the band (in Japanese), but the squall of noise and feedback drowned him out. This summed up the general atmosphere of the night - a carefully staged chaotic energy that filled the intimate pub venue and was maintained through much of the set. (One exception was Yuruyaka Na Do, a ponderous shoegaze track from their first album and an unneeded change in pace.)
Some songs were like updated glam-rock from space, some built walls of tense noise, most were garage acid-rockers with layers of cyclonic-flange guitars, echo, all overlaid with Monchan's mighty drums, dropping in and out with dynamic force. Their new songs were played with enough gusto to make their previous stand-out track, the storming Kiroshitai Kimochi, pale. Raging through tracks like Soko and Maguro, they finished with an extended run through Daikasei Part 2. After several tempo changes, they reached a peak that inspired a crowd surfer down the front - the venue was so small he bounced off the ceiling.
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