Sunday, 28 February 2010

Invasion / Bo Ningen @ Bungalows and Bears 28/02/10

Bo Ningen are an absolute sight to behold as well as a sound to be heard. Four worryingly skinny Japanese guys with dead straight chest length hair who specialise in making some of the most frustratingly hard to pin down music you’ve ever heard. One minute all galloping bombast, the next lurching bass and frail trippy ambience, and then total freakout; wailing guitars, booming bass and shrieked vocals. Bassist / vocalist Taigen leads the spectacle. A man possessed, he thrashes himself about with apparently boundless energy, clambering on top of his amplifier, often holding his hands aloft when they aren’t required otherwise, his fingers twitching seemingly of their own accord.

By the end of the set guitars are held aloft by their headstocks and twirled in huge arcs with joyous abandon, while swirls of feedback and cymbal crashes engulf the venue. An absolute revelation.

Invasion are unfortunate to have such a ridiculously tough act to follow. They are after all one of the most interesting metal prospects the UK has produced recently, unusual for a number of reasons. Firstly, as they have no bassist, secondly as they are comprised of two thirds females, and thirdly because they rely on an effect heavy, fuzzy guitar sound that harkens back to the genre’s roots, rather than the crunchy, down-tuned distortion that is most commonly favoured today.

They show that they are capable of bringing a degree of theatricality to even the smallest of shows. Frontwoman Chan cutting the figure of a dark priestess in her psychedelic robe, hood up, feet bare and tambourine shaking. Drummer Zel, with the aid of a quick squirt of lighter fluid, sets fire to her cymbals halfway through the set and they end, in typical rock and roll fashion, with guitarist Marek nonchalantly tossing his axe into the air, letting it drop to the floor and crack in two. Splendid.

None of this overly distracts from the music however, its lack of low end barely noticeable and hardly lacking, considering Malek’s uncanny knack of creating a stream of positively groovy riffs at breakneck speed without the aid of a four stringer.

For the few that braved the cold, this Sunday night held a treat. The rest of Sheffield just doesn’t know what it missed out on.

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