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Monday, December 9

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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.

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