Boris, Russian Circles: live review

Russian Circles
Salford Islington Mill
June 2011

Yet another evening of frontier music in Salford’s great Islington Mill venue, which has established a reputation for putting on bands that are working on the edge of rock.

Boris have been making a name for themselves in the past couple of years with their combination of drone rock, freak rock and neo psychedelic trips. The Japanese three piece are at the peak of their powers, dislocating rock and inventing new textures and new sounds. Their last two recently released albums saw both ends of the band’s sound from the almost ambient drones to the Black Sabbath tinged psychic sludge grunge. Formed as a grunge band they have taken the form to it’s logical extreme, or it’s several logical extremes.

At one minute they are taut and atmospheric like Earth and the next they are boot wearing retuned fairies dealing in the dark side. It’s an astonishing trip and proof that there are still so many places that rock can go, so many new sounds, feelings and atmospheres for rock music to investigate. Whether they ever find the mainstream or not is irrelevant. This is a catalyst band, a band that will influence and will flavour young band’s seeking a way out of the rigid structures of trad rock.

Russian Circles came out of Chicago a few years ago and are on their third album. The last time they were over here they supported Tool and their brand of post rock, neo prog instrumental workouts is, like Boris, at the very edges of the universe of rock. The songs ebb and flow and build to intense climaxes. The three piece are adept at the communal mind style of playing, locked into their tidal flow of sound, each member instinctively and intuitively playing the jam.

The music has a darkness and a grand power as the droning guise and the driving rhythm section join together with the samples and the random noise to thrilling climaxes. Like Boris they have reconstructed rock, escaped the 12 bar or the verse chorus rigidity for something looser and more human but also far more human. This is the soundtrack to the end times. The noise of uncertainty and the eternal. If you want to make a documentary about now, the end game of capitalism, the riots, the money grabbing bankers, the out of control bosses and the uneasy panic then the soundtrack is here.

Two great band dealing in the doom laden 21st century blues.

Previous articleTom Petty attempts to stop Republican frontrunner from using his song
Next articleThe Athens Riot Dog sends us a blog
Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here