Photo by Yoshitaka Kogawa
It's gonna be a heavy day at the White Stage
Fuji Rock has decided to pack Sunday’s White Stage with some seriously great heavy music, and Bo Ningen was the natural opener. It was a real treat for several reasons, one of the chief ones being that though this is a Japanese band, they’re based in London and don’t actually perform in Japan all that often. The last and only time they were at Fuji Rock was two years ago, and though that was also a morning show, it sent word of mouth rippling through the audiophile grapevine that, “Dude! This is a band to watch!”
Bass player and vocalist Taigen Kawabe was authentically moved to be back. He thanked the crowd profusely, and declared that he wanted to look every last audience member in the eyes. For the last song, he did just that, diving down into the crowd and inspiring a frenzy in the pit, with crowd surfers literally cascading over the barricade.
Bo Ningen has an arresting look. The band is fronted by three androgynous dudes with super long hair, ashen complexions and wearing dresses or billowing hippy pants (Kawabe included). They’re like a trio of druids playing a mix of hard Black Sabbath stoner sludge and Japanese freakout noise. They’re easily in the same territory with Acid Mothers Temple, in case that’s your thing. (It most definitely is my thing.) The lyrics and melodic lines are all Japanese, but somehow the language doesn’t matter. It’s the wall of noise and driving backbeats that get you. If intensity is what you’re looking for in a band, Bo Ningen will definitely get you there. I’m happy to rate this band as “highly recommended!”