Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Boris @ Ruby Lounge, Manchester

I almost forgot to write a little something about the Boris gig that we went along to watch on Monday night. It was a strange little gig, held at a strip club in Manchester that is called The Ruby Lounge. This gig was memorable for being our 7th day of gigs in a row. But unfortunately it is also memorable for other reasons, not quite so positive.

You see, this gig seems to have been a little poorly thought out. No wait, let me rephrase that. The *venue* seems to have been a little poorly thought out. There was nothing wrong with the performance from Japanese rockers Boris, they played the same setlist as was used 2 days earlier at the gig in Tilburg at Roadburn. And also we have been to many gigs in Manchester over the past year that have been organised by Lamb & Wolf (the same promoters who arranged using the spectacular Zion Arts Centre for the recent Earth gig that was held there, they also arranged the amazing Boris gig at a small church in Manchester city centre in June 2007), so I know from personal experience that these are promoters of high quality. So I am sure that there must be some other factor involved.

Basically, it was nigh-on impossible to see the band on stage. The Ruby Lounge is used as a strip club (so I am lead to believe anyway) and as such it is set out quite differently than a regular concert venue. The area where Boris played at the Ruby Lounge was sort of in a corner of the venue in an area surrounded by pillars and posts. There is no stage area there meaning that the Japanese band could not be seen by anybody but those lucky enough to be at the front of the crowd or the tallest of people stood no more than 4 or 5 rows back. Everyone else had to be content with simply being there while the gig went on in front of them, yet out of sight. Very frustrating.

I used a sneaky photographer's trick to get close to the action, hoping to get to the stage and snap a few pictures of the band. However this didn't go down very well with the already vexed Mancunian crowd and I was ignored by a lot of them when I asked to be allowed through. I did manage to get way over to the side of the stage for a while, but I found myself stood with speaker cabs obscuring my view of the band. Not one to be put off by speakers, I put my camera out at arm's length - around the back of the amps - and snapped away towards the unseen band. Here's the one decent photo that I was able to get:

The guy in the picture is Michio Kurihara, who is acting as lead guitar for Boris during the current tour. He was their collaborator on the recent "Rainbow" LP, and he also was on stage with them at Roadburn.

By the way, this hasn't been meant as a swipe at the promoters in any way. As I already said, I've been to plenty of the shows that Dave & Selina have put on and they've always been great. I think that maybe they're trying out new venues or something. But, as a result of the strange "stage arrangement" for the show, this might have suited Boris quite well. They are a band who bring out stacks of releases all of the time, often bring out tour only vinyl and sometimes they'll release records that are limited to about 500 copies - ridiculous for a band as popular as they have become. And so I am guessing that playing a gig that no one can actually see would somehow be right up their street.

Current tour setlist:

Laser Beam
Statement (complete with baby-laughing intro)
Floor Shaker
My Neighbor Satan
You Put Up Your Umbrella

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