As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. 


Tuesday, December 10

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Pelican Box Set To Be Released. Also, Pelican Beer! From Punk To Funk: A Benefit For Matthew Leone 8/17 @ Reggie's Rock Club »

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)

GB store

Aharona / August 14, 2010 5:06 PM

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

GB store

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

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

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...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15