Arriving early at The Biltmore these days one seems certain to be greeted by an eclectic atmosphere, and this night was no different. The Japanese psychedelic/hard rock act Boris was in town this night in support of no less than three 2011 full length recordings.
The night began at 9:00 with a band that seemed transported from a dark druidic secret society, or perhaps catapulted from a sandy landscape in the Middle East. Their name was Master Musicians of Bukkake, and despite their disposition, they claim to be from just across the border in Seattle. Two members started the night by arriving early, carrying smoking candles from hanging chains and ringing small bronze bells. They seemed almost mystical onstage wearing their sunglasses, beards, adorned in burqas and hijabs, complete with scarf-like head dressings that covered their facial areas. The crowd seemed captivated by their mysterious stage presence, and by the time all was said and done, a 7 piece band (2 synchronized drummers, 2 guitarists (a 6, and 12 string), a bassist, a saxophonist, and a vocalist on keys and effects) had completed a half hour set. Though the modified lyrics were nearly indiscernible, the band seemed to incorporate so many different instrumentations and moods, where religious and political undertones seemed present. Song titles like: “People of the Drifting Houses”, “Cascade Cathedral” “Totem” and “Origin of Heresy” would likely bare this out.
Tera Melos took the stage around 10pm. They’re a quirky trio, formed mid-decade in Sacramento, consisting simply of guitar, bass, drums…and a ton of effects pedals! I found them to be off the wall and somewhat avant-garde, with perhaps some elements of Squarepusher. The band was certainly experimental and the crowd witnessed some fantastic drumming by Vince Rogers and crazy bass work by Nate Letona. Singer/Guitarist Nick Reinhart seemed content to strum wildly while belting it out at stage right. The crowd jumped and buzzed along to songs seemingly from their 2010 double release entitled: Drugs to the Dear Youth/Complex Full of Phantoms.
Boris began their set at quarter past 11, complete with smoky fog of dry ice which seemed to cloak the entire stage. So impressive was their stage set up, where drummer Atsuo sat perched behind a transparent orange kit complete with gigantic 26” bass drum. This fit in well at the rear of the stage alongside stacks of vintage Orange amplifiers and where session guitarist Michio Kurihara could be found nearby at stage right. Bassist/guitarist Takeshi was centre stage with a huge double-neck instrument, singing when required for the more Melvins inspired tracks found on Klatter and Heavy Rocks the band is best known for. While the mist almost enveloped guitarist Wata’s small frame at stage left, she sang the softer tones from Attention Please and I couldn’t help but be reminded of Blonde Redhead or My Bloody Valentine.
The band departed early without encore, yet attendees seemed pleased with the results.