Bo Ningen bring magnificent rock and huge manes to Liverpool, Getintothis’ Jamie Bowman leaps out of the mouth of a huge pyrotechnic tiger.
While it may not quite be at the point where it has its own section in HMV, the explosion of Japanese space rock in the last decade has been a sight to behold for many psych-starved Brits.
Regular jaunts westward by the likes of the Boredoms, Makoto Kawabata‘s Acid Mothers Temple, Boris, Asahito Nanjo‘s High Rise, Ghost and their ilk have often left audiences awestruck at the country’s seemingly endless penchant for dizzying hard rock.
The latest band off this kaleidoscopic carousel is London-based Bo Ningen – a bunch of self imposed exiles whose reputation as a jaw dropping live act has grown over their three album career thanks to a satisfying combination of incredible riffing, capes and very, very long hair.
Confrontational and downright terrifying at times, Bo Ningen‘s initial impact may have softened a little since their first mesmerizing concerts but there is still a gleeful novelty about watching a band who throw themselves so completely into all that is psychedelic that it almost verges on pastiche at times.
Taigan Kawabe of Bo Ningen performing live at East Village Arts Club
Lead singer Taigan Kawabe is a stunningly effective front man: his high pitched yelp is at first an acquired taste but once you get over the whole ‘is that a boy or a girl?’ thing his unhinged utterances become a crucial tool in Bo Ningen‘s armoury.
That he manages to combine this with some energetic bass playing while also indulging in some Crazy World of Arthur Brown-style hand jives is all the more impressive.
If you’re looking for musical references then the doom laden sound of Black Sabbath‘s Fairies Wears Boots comes close as does Hawkwind‘s quintessential greasy grooves but as DaDaDa‘s poppy tripiness skips along it’s possible to hear the Happy Mondays and Can infect their pulsing guitar workouts.
But references be dammed, this bunch are about as unique a band as you could wish to see on a wet Wednesday night and as the dubby swirl of Daikasiei Part 2 envelopes you in a heavenly mix of double riffing from twin guitar maestros Yuki Tsujii and Kohei Matsuda and spider-limbed drumming from Monchan Monma you’ll fret at the injustice of the fact they’re playing to a half empty crowd in the East Village Arts Club and not leaping out of the mouth of a huge pyrotechnic tiger in some enormodome.
By the climax of a breathless 90 minutes, guitars are being played by teeth and those audience members who are not grinning ear to ear are merely shaking their heads or doing that ‘we’re not worthy’ thing with their arms.
And then with a swish of their manes Bo Ningen are gone. Miss them at your peril.
Young Husbands live at East Village
The Scenes live at East Village
Pictures by Getintothis‘ Tom Adam
Further reading on Getintothis:
Singles Club #88 – Bo Ningen, DaDaDa
The Cult, Bo Ningen: O2 Academy, Liverpool
Liverpool Sound City 2013: Bo Ningen, French Films, Bleech: Screenadelica, Leaf, Shipping Forecast
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