After the election night gig at the Arts Centre with The Neutrinos and Birds of Hell, in a strange twist of fate my following visit to the NAC a couple of nights later was for a band named Boris! This was for the immensely powerful trio from Japan who impressed me when they supported Amenra at the same venue a while back, more so than the headliners in fact so I was interested to hear what the full set experience would be like. I was not to be disappointed.
First on at 8:30pm however, on another extremely busy night of Norwich gigs, was Norway’s Årabrot featuring a tall, behatted figure. All I had to go on were a couple of YouTube videos but that were more than enough to pique my interest so, as always, I made sure I was in the hall for their support. The first thing I noticed was how many amps were crammed onto the stage before they came on and launched into a highly impressive set putting their all into it, they had very quickly won me. My friend Paul remarked between songs (the only time any remark would be heard in this volume!) that they sounded like a sort of heavy rock, fast version of The Fall, which is actually spot on with almost MES-esque, sometimes inpenetrable lyrics and a loud and powerful band giving it everything. I liked them a lot and Sinnerman was just one of a number of headlights. I think they went down well with everyone else too.
Some of the amps and a drumkit were cleared from the stage between sets ahead of Boris’ arrival. They opened under a steady light getting progressively louder before the dry ice started to consume the hall and the glorious, onslaught of noise began. It was loud, very loud, and powerful, profoundly so. Sometimes dark and intense, sometimes beautiful. For an hour and three quarters they took us on some kind of mind-altering musical journey that I have only recently experienced by Acid Mothers Temple. The sound had a Mogwai, immersive quality to it and many times I found myself realising they’d completely taken me to somewhere else only returning when a song ended. The audience were great, a sea of slowly nodding heads of music fans bathed in smoke and incredible noise, though the sounds were not without subtlety and light and shade too.
Increasingly I am realising that I’m not particularly keen on politics from the stage at gigs as I seek escapism from all that kind of noise and bickering in my music and don’t like the spell being broken. I was certainly able to escape in this glorious gig though. As a few of us remarked at the end, it felt like a sort of healing, cathartic mass exorcism of the previous few days’ unpleasantness. Boris and Årabrot were just the tonic and I left the gig feeling good. A late gig-of-the-year contender. Immense.
To continue the musical trip I followed the gig with a visit to the Louis Marchesi for the excellent Long Swords and am delighted with my Krampus CD!
Norwich: Music City, UK. A Norwich playlist of well over 48 hours of local music on Spotify: