Bo Ningen at Rough Trade East
Eruptions of distorted guitars and maniacal shrieking could be heard outside of Rough Trade East during Bo Ningen’s sound check last night, adding solidity to the urban opinion that they are one of the best live acts in London. The Japanese four-piece have gained a huge following due to their combination of super-eccentrically charged performances and trippy, chaotic jamming.
Promoting their new album, Line The Wall, they gyrated around the stage during the grunge-inspired spectacle, thrashing their instruments and playing them in very awkward positions while the lead singer moved his body into bizarre postures and pulled frightening facial expressions – all while wearing a dress of course. That’s right, adding to their nuttiness, there is a certain androgynous aspect to Bo Ningen; long hair, fragile feminine frames and frocks make up their unique exterior which only makes their live playing more outlandish. With long instrumental periods during their songs, Bo Ningen spent these valuable times fashioning a shambolic yet classy stage presence while playing their hyper-loud guitars with a Nirvana-like aggression that added to the dirtiness and deeply recognisable western influence of their music.
There is definitely still an alien aspect to their rock and roll though. Songs like Shin Ichi feature complex rhythms, spaced out riffs and childlike foreign vocals. When the disorganised, frenzied, cacophonic guitar work switched to Americanised grooves the crowd moved in similar ways to Taigen – the lead singer and bassist, demonstrating that their oh-so-unconventional showmanship has created a kind of cult-trend.
Daikasiei Part 2 was played last – a perfect way to end the show, with close to seven minutes of speedy rock riffs and more chances to show off their borderline speaker vandalism and hazardous stage movements that ended the last show of their tour and proved that they are very serious performers.
Matt Di Salvo
Line The Wall is out now on Stolen Recordings
Visit their website to buy the album.
Watch the video for Henkan here: