On October 27, Boris played Irving Plaza as part of their HOPE World Tour. The Japanese experimental-metal greats shared the stage with a pair of local bands: transcendental black metallists Liturgy and throwback shoegazers Asobi Seksu. Greg Cristman is a fantastic NY-based photographer whose work has been featured everywhere from Brooklyn Vegan to Rolling Stone. He shot the Manhattan stop of the HOPE tour for Invisible Oranges, and he shared with us some of his thoughts on the show, too.

— Mike Nelson

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Openers Liturgy were impressive--in fact, better than I expected them to be. They incorporate hypnotic vocal chants into their music that add a unique and haunting angle to their spin on black metal. The band was precise and delivered a powerful 30-minute set but, unfortunately, this was excellent drummer Greg Fox’s last appearance with the band, which may mean an upcoming change to their sound in the near future.

To many, Asobi Seksu was an odd choice to join Boris on this bill, and most could only come up with the fact that both bands feature Japanese members. However, if you listen deeper to Boris’ music—especially to Attention Please, one of two recent albums released simultaneously—you’ll hear that both bands share a passion for shoegaze and incorporate elements of that style into their sound. Asobi Seksu’s set was solid and the highlight was when their lead singer, Yuki, sat down to play drums and was accompanied by Boris’ drummer Atsuo for a powerful conclusion to their set.

While I absolutely love Boris and have become friendly with them over the years, I must say this performance was not quite as mind-melting as usual. They focused heavily on their latest two albums (Attention Please and Heavy Rocks) which, while very good, are definitely not quite as strong as their prior output. However, even when not at their very best, they’re still an excellent live band and with a strong drummer like Atsuo and two brilliant guitarists in Wata and the Japanese God Michio, they’re a stunningly talented outfit especially in a live setting.

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Boris’ tour concludes in Los Angeles on November 12 with Asobi Seksu appearing on a few more dates followed by Joe Lally and Tera Melos.

— Greg Cristman

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