Bands: Boris, Tera Melos, and Master Musicians of Bukkake
Venue: Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver
Date: Tuesday, October 11
Getting to the Biltmore just in time to miss the opening band can often be a good thing, but in this case, I was deeply annoyed with myself. Master Musicians of Bukkake, a band whose name is as embarrassing to say out loud as their music is fascinating to listen to, were finishing a sonically dense and very time-limited set just as I entered the room. The band’s name is a joking reference to the Master Musicians of Jojouka, and as is the case with most “funny” names, the joke wears thin before the first time you even hear it. Their music’s serious art, though. Comparable to Secret Chiefs 3 in some ways, MMB is still entirely its own entity. And yes, I am bitter about missing the damn set.
Tera Melos might be a band that demands familiarity with their material in order to fully engage with the live show. A scrappy trio that looked more like a duo to most of the crowd, the sightlines in the Biltmore rendering the drummer invisible, they pound out mathy confusion in the mold of bands such as Time of Orchids, but without the songwriting precision of Seattle’s late and often-mourned Botch. Don’t tell that to the sizable knot of youngish guys going absolutely nuts for the duration of their band’s frantic set, though; this is the kind of band that hits just the right spot with young men who are discovering that shredding metal doesn’t have all the emotional dynamics they’re looking for, or that plain old rock is getting a little too boring for their ears, or their own fingers. This is clearly a band that young guys starting their own “tech” bands have embraced.
Boris launched their set with three poundingly heavy, riff-centric stoner rock songs with enough metal kick to cause a brief outburst of crowd-surfing, which I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed at the Biltmore. While the set certainly didn’t decline in musical quality after the initial assault, the energy of the show wasn’t ever quite the same, due to Boris’s incredibly diverse catalogue. With synth-heavy, wispily sung tunes alternating with experiemental and complex compositions, the occasionally return to the temple of the riff wasn’t quite enough to recreate that early frenzy in the crowd. But really, who cares? If the biggest complaint that I can muster is that the set was too diverse, the show must have been pretty great.