The Boredoms equipment was set up in the middle of the Fillmore’s auditorium. The stage area was about 20 feet by 15, raised up a couple of feet. I have never been to a standing concert that was ‘in the round’ before and the first thing to decide was where to stand. The Boredoms have a special instrument called the Sevena which is made of seven electric guitars joined together with the heads sticking out sideways. I reasoned that this was a good thing to stand near. I was proved right as Boredoms leader Yamantaka Eye stands just in front of the Sevena. There are three drummers, all playing trap kits. Fans of Yoshimi P-We should note that her kit is set up diagonally across from Eye. Another member of the band has a job playing occasional keyboards and propping up and retuning the Sevena after Eye has beaten on it. This guy may have been Shinji Masuko the creator of the Sevena. I couldn’t really see the third drummer but the one to Eye’s left is a monster player.
The music was psychedelic. The Sevena is basically a percussion instrument which Eye hammers at with sticks. The three drummers produce an overwhelming noise. At times I was irresistibly driven to ecstatically bang my head. Sometimes Eye moves to the centre of the stage, throws his head back and screams like a shaman. There is a lot of noise in the sound, but it is there for a reason. This is music and it makes total sense when you are in the middle of it.
The Fillmore is still one of the friendliest places to see a band in San Francisco. Unusually the security staff put a lot of effort into preventing people from taking photographs. I assume this is an attempt by the band to maintain the sacredness of the performance space. For any other band this might seem pretentious but I buy it.
At the end the band went right by me as they threaded through the crowd. Eye was on crutches. He seemed smaller off the stage. As they passed people shouted congratulations and there were pats on the back and handshakes. It seemed to me that no one dared to touch Yoshimi, who trailed the others. She was smiling and saying “Arigato”. In reply I give my thanks to the Boredoms for a fantatstic gig that I feel lucky to have been able to attend.