When: Mon., Aug. 2, 9 p.m. 2010
The Japanese trio Boris made some of the most urgent and riveting music of the last 15 years, both as a high-flying, heavy-hitting psychedelic metal aggressor and as a timbre-and-tone-obsessed bulwark open to the slow evolution of one sound for an epoch. Amplifier Worship, Feedbacker, Pink and Flood are but four classics in the prolific band's immense discography; taken together, that output emphasizes that Boris is a communion of relentless explorers, with the urge to push each approach—stoner rock, noisy metal escapades, icy ambience—being its only real constant.
With that operating ideal, some failure is inevitable, of course, and the band seems to have grown a bit cold (mannerist, even) in recent years: Smile, from 2008, was listless crunch and wail. This year's BXI, a simply named four-track collaboration with The Cult's Ian Astbury, is absolutely miserable, as it circumscribes the band's menace and roar to a radio-rock plod. In an attempt to meet Astbury's melodramatic bathos halfway, Boris loses its ferocity.
Onstage, at least, they've rarely had those problems: Guitarist Wata is a still, porcelain beauty with unimpeachable patience and presence, while drummer and vocalist Atsuo Mizuno is a gong-thrashing, crowd-igniting madman. Russian Circles and SAADE open at 9 p.m.—Grayson Currin