By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Delivering its unique brand of heavy music for a quarter century, experimental Japanese trio Boris brings the band’s 25th anniversary tour to the Independent in San Francisco Wednesday night.
Formed in 1992 when guitarist Wata, bassist/guitarist Takeshi Ohtani, original drummer Nagata and singer Atsuo Mizono came together while attending art school in Tokyo — Atsuo would begin playing drums when Nagata left in 1996 — Boris has traveled a wildly varied path from their roots as drone/doom merchants. Early efforts Absolute Ego and Amplifier Worship showed a deep debt to Bullhead-era Melvins (they took their name from one of the songs on that album). Their 2000 album Flood took the sound to a new level, exploring feedback, distortion and volume over the course of an epic 70-minute song.
Boris has ventured further afield since those efforts. The band’s 2005 breakout effort Pink introduced elements of shoegaze and dream pop into the stoner sludge template, while the following year’s Rainbow explored more pastoral psych with guest guitarist Michio Kurihara, who had come to fame as a member of the acclaimed Japanese band Ghost. The band’s profile would rise higher after touring with Nine Inch Nails in 2008 and appearing on the soundtrack to the Jim Jarmusch movie The Limits of Control. The band would also produce collaborative albums working with Japanese noise act Merzbow, fellow experimental drone band Sunn O))) and lead singer to the Cult Ian Astbury
The ever-prolific Boris ramped up it’s productivity to new heights in 2011, releasing three separate discs — New Album, Heavy Rocks and Attention Please — that veered from J-pop to electronic dance music to glam rock. While the trio would scale back its releases, Boris has continued to tour regularly, in some cases playing it’s classic recordings Flood and Pink in their entirety.
Boris returns to the Bay Area Wednesday night, playing songs from its latest album Dear, so titled as a thank you to longtime fans. Edging back into the tuneful, monolithic riffs that marked Pink, the recording shows a band still operating at the peak of its powers 25 years after first coming together. The band’s 25th anniversary tour stop at the Independent also includes fellow Japanese experimentalists Endon and heavy-hitting U.S. drone outfit Sumac, the current project of former Isis leader Aaron Turner.
Wednesday, Oct. 11, 8 p.m. $22-$25