Quite a bracing double bill for a Monday night you have to say and thankfully a large and excitable crowd have turned up keen to have their minds fried by what amounts to a giant double helping of that thing they used to call loud acid rock. Bo Ningen have really been tearing it up on their first headlining tour and everyone’s been saying how great they are, you can scroll back a few posts for some footage of their Newcastle gig which Prince Reelfoot enthusiastically declared to be ‘a righteous noise!’ He wasn’t wrong, but first up there’s the mindwarping audio visual assault of Evil Blizzard to drink in.
Evil Blizzard claim to be from Preston but it doesn’t take an anthropologist to see that they are clearly not of this earth. Idle talk in the saloon bar before the show suggests they may have long lain dormant in their ship/temple while the people of Preston have been innocently using it as a place to wait for buses these many long years. With the iconic ‘bus station’ now slated for demolition the Blizzard have emerged to walk amongst us. Dressed in crude and perfunctory costumes in their attempts to pass as human they’re an arresting spectacle. Even more so the remarkable doom/noise/psych hybrid kicked out by the four bass and drums line up. Their first Birmingham gig is something of a homecoming then, both architecturally and sonically, as they channel a good deal of that deep, dark Sabbath sludge into their bass metal. For the final number, a truncated Whale Bomb, (the version on their forthcoming debut is 19mins long) they are joined by an additional member with a pig’s head and set about a bunch of curious theremin-like devices in the shape of babies. It’s to their massive credit that all of this is done with such belief and well, joy, that it never seems like a gimmick. Here’s a clip from the show for your enjoyment and enlightenment, although it inevitably feels rather smaller and quieter than the real thing…
Now, that’s entertainment.
Bo Ningen are a pretty striking bunch themselves, rocking a neat line in androgyny and heads down riffing while the lead singer makes with some wild eye-popping and demented hand-shape throwing. It all rather ruffles my compatriot’s corduroy jacket leading him to exclaim ” it’s like watching ‘The Ring’ – the metal band”. It’s easy to overlook just how great Bo Ningen are at what they do as you get swept along in it’s wake. It’s not really anything new but when you stop to think how many bands do this kind of thing badly, indulgently, boringly you start to appreciate how good they are at it, how the noise is balanced with melody, how they use repetition but never get dull. Still, I spend most of their set thinking that Blizzard have edged it until the last track, inevitably a lengthy noise-beast but absolutely wonderful, righteous indeed. A moshpit explodes and, while I’m forced to prudently climb on a sofa and guard my pint from the chaos, I’m grinning from ear to ear.
a new Evil Blizzard tune features in tonight’s Panic & Carousels – 7pm basic fm in the meantime, here’s another one – which kicked off the set if my memory still serves