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Wednesday, December 13

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Review Sat Aug 14 2010

Review: Boris & Russian Circles @ Metro, 8/13

Russian Circles_1.jpg
Russian Circles (photos by Katie Hovland)

With so much history attacking so many different styles of music over their career, it's nearly impossible to predict what can be expected at any Boris show. They could go balls out with heavy metal, make the room vibrate with sludgy drone music or deliver a completely experimental set. But, luckily, it's mostly some combination. And on Friday at Metro it was a well-constructed setlist of peaks and valleys that pulled selections from across their varied history.

PINK's "Farewell" got things started, sounding like a shoegaze/metal hybrid, before moving onto the relatively calm "Rainbow" with guitarist Wata on vocals. The straining psychedelic guitar solo in "Rainbow" (from Ghost's Michio Kurihara) was the first moment of the 90-minute set that drew wild cheers from an enthusiastic crowd, and with good reason. From there the music ranged all over - hitting highs with pummeling epic riffs ("Korosu") and bringing it down a notch with entrancing soundscapes ("16:47:52"). What it appears some people don't realize, though, is that Boris' history as an experimental band is just as critical as their history as a metal band. Some of the innovative guitar play on their quieter songs is as integral to them as the so-called facemelters. Every song has a purpose: balancing out a set to appeal to all types of Boris fans. But a lot of those quieter songs became a time for conversation in the crowd, as if just because it's quiet enough to chat means it's appropriate to. (What is this, Lollapalooza?)

But even I have to admit the best part of Friday's show was the end. At the Empty Bottle two years ago, Boris closed on a boundless "Untitled" from Smile. Last night, they kept that song at the end, but whittled it down from like a half-hour to about ten minutes. Even once drummer Atsuo had done his standard stage dive (where the crowd actually dropped him) and left the stage, Wata, Takeshi and Kurihara continued to play on to the crowd's delight until they were spent.

Russian Circles_2.jpg
Russian Circles (photos by Katie Hovland)

Chicago instrumental prog/metal trio Russian Circles have had a tumultuous last few weeks. An accident ruined their gear, but generous friends and donations have allowed them to stay on tour. Even with borrowed equipment they haven't lost a step; barrelling through a 45-minute opening set stringing together six (seven?) songs with troughs of effects to make it seem like one continuous piece. What can't be gleaned from listening to their recordings is just how fluid the trio look on stage. Drummer Dave Turncrantz completes fills like they're second nature and Mike Sullivan's two-handed tapping looks flawless as it adds a critical element to their sound. (Had I been blind, there's no way I would've believed only three guys were on stage.) Three songs from their latest album Geneva highlighted the hometown set, with the chugging title track closing them out in grand style.

Russian Circles_3.jpg
Russian Circles (photos by Katie Hovland)

 
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Aharona / August 14, 2010 5:06 PM

Awesome review and amazing photos! I so wish I could have seen this show!

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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 »

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