SY/Boredoms Show Review

Posted May 29, 2007 in

Sonic Youth
April 20, 2007
Studio Coast (Tokyo, Japan)
W/ V∞redoms

Leaned up against the balcony railing in the east VIP wing of Studio Coast—one of Tokyo’s premier venues that sits in the harbor of the Pacific across from a picture-perfect ferris wheel—I wait patiently, but anxiously for V∞redoms to drop sound.

is the new, slightly tweaked moniker of Japanoise rock outfit, Boredoms. The new name comes with a change of line-up consisting of three drummers and EY3—DJ, vocalist extraordinaire. This title change is fitting: V∞redoms have taken the concept of inverted parallelism and self-sustaining repetition to new heights: Super Roots 9—their latest release—is a polyrhythmic orgy meets hologram.

It doesn’t help that I’m already obsessed with the structure and conceptual potential of ∞. That is, it doesn’t help my simultaneous nervousness and excitement. Nor does being in Tokyo with a sea of Japanese youth who are just as fanatical as I am because of what is about to take place.

When the cadence of the three drummers does initiate, and EY3 screams his soul into his microphone whilst arcing an angelic vibrato from his DJ stand, I nearly jump off the balcony. I do, however, leave the comfort and secluded loftiness of the privileged VIP lounge when EY3 leaps into the middle of the drummers' circle onto a old-school Nintendo pad (you know, the kind of pad used for the game Track & Field that had big red and blue circles you would run on to make your character, likewise, run in the game—if you were born after ’85, ignore this, and just trust me), which sends the charged guitar thunder of “Super Going” from Super Ae into my eardrums. Hastily and clumsily, I scrambled down a flight of stairs and into the crowd of similarly charged Asians like Red Rover, and letting V∞redoms take over.

Another instrument was soon revealed as EY3 jumped with drum sticks in both hands onto a totem-pole of sorts—a monstrous statue composed of eight guitars, or a god of eternal bliss, depending on how religious you are—and played the eight-headed beast like a set of drums suspended. Each time, EY3 had to leap four feet onto the base of this thing and balance while sending cacophonous sonic booms through the venue with each Zeus-like blow of his wand.

Note: I’m not embellishing or trying to entertain with hyper hyperbole. This actually happened in sobriety and honesty. It was spiritual.

Sonic Youth’s set was also hot. The heavens didn’t open up, but it was a fun-fun dance-a-thon. This was my first SY show, and from what I hear they usually stick to their latest release material; instead of playing strictly from Rather Ripped, they also played songs from Goo, Dirty and Sonic Nurse, among others I’m sure. While Kim careened and Thurston swayed and swooped, I sweated and sock-hopped with Japanese boys and girls. They played two encores, the final with ex-member Jim O’Rourke (who now lives in Tokyo) for a d�nouement worthy of a live recording.

After the show, I snuck backstage (it was awfully easy to do this by the way) and meandered around the bands’ dressing rooms, eating their picnic food and drinking their booze. I had my picture taken with EY3 (I ended up losing this camera on the subway an hour later), but decided to let the music answer my questions rather than berating them like a journalist. In other words, the music was satisfying enough. I didn’t feel it necessary to ask EY3 why they changed their name to include the infinity symbol, or pester Kim as to why she is so cool. I did, however, ask the meek, trollish-looking O’Rourke if I could stay at his place.