Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, November 29

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Concert Mon Mar 17 2008

Stop Watching TV!: The Boredoms' Circular Logic

Since they first came together on the Osaka noise scene of the mid-1980s, The Boredoms have always been one of the music world's most unwieldy and inexplicable acts. Starting out as an outfit of frenetic, genre-mulching rawk'n'roll destructivists, they've since undergone a circuitous musical evolution over the past decade. Like a supernova constricting into a neutron star, the band refocused its musical energy to become purveyors of dense and droning space-rock in the late 1990s before finally arriving at their present trance-inducing, tribal incarnation as the most apeshit drum circle on earth.

Boredoms fans will have a chance to see the band play a special "in the round" performance at the Congress Theater next Wednesday evening. The show will be one of the few dates on their current U.S. tour where the group will be able to perform the way they want to -- interfacing in a circle in the center of the venue while the audience will be free to gather around on the periphery.

The group first started playing this way several years ago in their native Japan. The rationale, as founder and frontman Yamataka Eye explained in somewhat mystical terms to The Wire magazine back in 2002, is to have both the band and the audience's attention directed toward a focal point, toward a shared and concentrated axis of energy. It's primarily intended as a means of circumventing the isolating effects of the standard performer-audience relationship -- of making the audience's role more integral, engaged, less passive. "Concerts up until now have always been like watching TV," drummer Yoshimi P-We pointed out. "We want it to be music that people can dance to. When you're playing drums, you want people to move their bodies."

This set-up is something that few venues have been able to accommodate in the past, especially in the United States. But for the Chicago show, crews from the Empty Bottle and the Congress Theater are rigging the venue for the occasion -- tailoring the lighting, sound, and staging for the performance, thus permitting The Boredoms to play in the center of the Theater's floor. The event will be only one of four dates where the band will be playing in-the-round during their current American tour.

The Boredoms' Chicago appearance coincides with the arrival of their new recording via Thrill Jockey Records. On April 8, Thrill Jockey will be releasing the U.S. edition of Super Roots 9, the latest in the group's long-running series of Super Roots 9 EPs. The series has always occupied a tangential role in The Boredoms' discography, existing like a collection of sketchbooks through which the band logs scattered works-in-progress, open-ended musical experiments, and various other odds and ends. In the past, some of Super Roots material has indicated the musical changes that the band would undergo over the the course of its career. This time around, Super Roots 9 is a live recording -- the documentation of a 2004 Christmas concert in Japan that involved a full percussion ensemble and a 20-member choir. Like the overseas edition that came out on WEA Japan earlier in 2007, the domestic version on Thrill Jockey will include a 40-page booklet featuring Eye's original artwork and annotated musical score.

The Boredoms perform at the Congress Theater next Wednesday, March 26. Opening up for the show are Soft Circle (a new project from forner Lightning Bolt and Black Dice drummer Hisham Bharoocha) and Human Bell, both of whom will--as per the evening's format--also be playing en tondo. The event is being hosted by the Empty Bottle and the Congress Theater in conjunction with Arthur magazine. Due to the unusual arrangement for the evening, seating is limited and interested parties are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance. 8:30 PM, tickets are $25 a head. 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Super Roots 9 releases on Thrill Jockey on April 8, but copies will be available in advance at the show.

[video]: Boredoms - live in Copenhagen (2007)
[video]: Boredoms - live in NYC (c. 1990s)
[video]: Boredoms - early Boredoms footage

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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