Bo Ningen:  The Joiners, Southampton – live review
Bo Ningen
The Joiners, Southampton
9th October 2012

We’ve done mini reviews of Bo Ningen a couple of times this year already when they took part in a couple of festivals (like here & here) but it’s definitley time we had a full review of one of the best live bands in the UK at the moment. Ged Babey does the honours.

Being ‘psychedelic’ means to us that stand quietly / loudly in the middle of interzone and stare at both sides at once.

(Bo Ningen)

Like WOW! Impressed or what? What a performance! Bo Ningen are, as people had told me, an abso-fucking-lutely amazing live act; a combination of hardcore and Krautrock dynamics powering a psychedelic maelstrom that is actually immediate & accessible rather than turgid and self-indulgent.

I’m not an avid fan of Noise (as a sub-genre) or a studious disciple of Japanoise (disparate, completely different sounding bands who just happen to come from Japan it seems) but since it was a fiver (bargain!) I couldn’t resist checking them out, despite it being a school night.

One support act were billed You’re Smiling Now But We All Turn Into Demons – a gnarly competent late-period SST sounding band – but openers an Isle of Wight teen-noise grunge-punk band Battery Hens were more enjoyable in their attempts to do something new with a Sonic Youth template with a bit of early Ride guitarama

Bo Ningen are four Japanese persons, short of stature, of indeterminate sex, flowing manes of black hair and yer usual guitars bass and drums. They are precision technicians though, ones that create a magical noise, harmonic chords, shapes and a storm of billowing electricity that hangs in the air with the aid of reverb and sheer energy.

They look astounding – the guitarist in red loon pants shakes his head and twitches like Johnny Thunders. The androgynous singer plays bass in a unique fashion (imagine Level 42’s Mark King playing thrash metal). The drummer is a Keith Moon from the Land of the Rising Sun. There are the obvious Sabbath, Hawkwind type influences in there but the same intensity and electricity as the Birthday Party. My informed friend (IPT as he’s known) tells me Bo Ningen are indebted to Les Rallizes Denudes (goggle and youtube ‘em) and the stoned riffage of Acid Mothers Temple, but Bo Ningen have no excessive hippyness or stoned indulgence about them and their self proclaimed description of themselves as “Enlightenment activists” although extremely cool-sounding does not get over what an exceedingly physical and fun band they are. If they come to your town, don’t miss them.

Oct 14 Leicester – Bar Academy
Oct 15 Sheffield – Harley
Oct 17 Manchester – Ruby Lounge
Oct 18 Chester – The Compass
Oct 19 Cardiff – SWN Festival
Oct 20 Preston – Mad Ferret
Oct 22 Glasgow – Stereo
Oct 23 Newcastle – Cluny 2
Oct 24 York – Stereo
Oct 25 Hull – Fruit
Oct 27 Derby – Victoria Inn
Oct 28 Liverpool – Mello Mello

Bo Ningen’s website is here.

All words Ged Babey. More by Ged can be read here.

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Ged Babey is 56. from Southampton, has written since 1985 for Sound Info, Due South, various fanzines and websites, contributed to Record Collector magazine and was sole author of 'Punk Throwback' fanzine -the name of which was taken from an insult hurled at him by the singer with a young band he managed for a while. Ged believes that all good music and art has a connection with punk rock.


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