Bo Ningen, Avida Dollars & Audrey Horne, The Harley

As one would place a bet based on a race dog’s name, rather than on their odds, I decided to see Audrey Horne simply because the band are named after a character in Twin Peaks. Imagine my dismay when I did some light research and discovered they were an all male death-metal band. Thankfully, I arrived at The Harley to find a bouncing rock band fronted by a curly haired female vocalist. With fun, bass fuelled tunes such as, ‘Dancing Queen’ (not to be mistaken with the Abba song), this was more like it.

Having seen Avida Dollars before, I was expecting some of their usual crazy, rock’n’roll stage antics and though this was a pretty tame performance for them, there was still a lot of audience participation and enthusiasm from their strong following. The guitarist falls about in the crowd, shoving a mic in the face of a guy who whole-heartedly shouts, ‘On the radio!’ When watching Avida’s set unfold, teen-angst-nineties-Nirvana-grunge comes to mind, both visually and audibly. ‘Dream, Babe’ is far more melodious compared to the rough and raw sound, found in many of their other tracks. And although there are a couple of new tracks, ‘Dracula’ is instantly recognisable with its screech of high pitched, twiddling guitars. Then, the howling guitars reach a climax as the turbulent mosh pit turns into a sea of supportive hands for the crowd surfers, who are thrown up to the ceiling, before falling to a raucous applause.

Now, this is where things get really interesting. The tall, thin frame of a man with ultra long, dark hair stands before us. He is wearing a long, black gown and a surgeon’s mask covers his mouth. I am scared. Seriously, this guy, Taigen looks like the creepy girl who crawled out of the television in The Ring. The other three members are dressed similarly, with hair just as limitless. In fact, you might compare one of the guitarists to Cousin It, since his face is covered in hair during the whole performance. The air is thick with anticipation and then, I am swept into a dreamlike trance. It’s difficult to describe Bo Ningen’s style of music. Their distorted guitars and echoing, Japanese vocals attack your senses, yet make their way to your eardrums smoothly. Their performance is both frightening and mesmerizing in equal measure. Taigen’s eyes dart around the crowd and his head nods, whilst his theatrical hand gestures suggest he is casting spells. As the mask falls off his face, his fingers skilfully find the bass strings amongst his hair. One track feels like impending doom, as the bass falls like heavy footsteps before bursting into erratic guitars. Bo Ningen’s songs are like marathons, I’m exhausted just watching them. Their music takes many twists and turns, demonstrating subtle developments as well as displaying outrageously mosh-able moments. To summarise, Bo Ningen are hypnotically dark and if the title, ‘Gasmask Rabbit’ is anything to go by, beware. To be a fan is to be infatuated in a sick way.