Artist: Bo Ningen
Date: 1 March
Venue: Leeds Nation of Shopkeepers
Review: Tom Killingbeck
Free gigs don’t come along often, especially when the gig concerned is a face-off between two of the most exciting bands to emerge from the depths of the London underground in some time. Hitting the stage first on this co-headline tour are Invasion, a robe wearing soul-metal trio who distribute liberal grooves and tales of wizards with consummate panache. Their musical hotpot is as mad as a self-harming beaver, and the fey-looking crowd are surprisingly enamoured by their sexed-up ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ musical roleplay. An audible ‘wow’ is emitted when drummer Zel whips off her t-shirt and sets the drums alight. This ain’t a Kooks gig, kids. She plays with a crazed look in her eye that suggests she is possessed by either Animal from the Muppets or Keith Moon himself. The set is short but sweet, the hushed aftershock following it a fitting response.
Bo Ningen are probably the best live band you’ll see in 2010, unless the 1972 line-up of The Stooges rises from the grave. Armed with giant flares, 80s jogging gear and hair down to their knees they unleash a psych-kraut-doom atom bomb on Leeds. Radioactive riffs mix with desperate punk vocals as the whole room is suddenly transported to an eccentric Japanese psychedelic wonderland. Guitar poses that combine Hendrix playing-with-your-mouth madness with Van Halen fret humping and Who-style drumkit destruction hint that we’ve gone back in time to a musical land where no-one gives a flying fuck about onstage decency.
As yet another crazy guitar move results in an androgynous Japanese man landing at my feet, my heart swells with the knowledge that British music is again mad as batshit. In a world where music is now a precious commodity, these bands play for pure mad love. Despite my booze fund currently running dangerously low, I almost feel guilty not paying.