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Los Angeles Concerts

How Boris Fucks With Their Fans -- In A Good Way

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Fri, Nov 11, 2011 at 4:00 AM

click to enlarge Boris
  • Boris
Boris plays the El Rey Theatre tomorrow night, Saturday, November 12. The Japanese experimental rock group has carved out a dedicated fan base by constantly switching things up. Stoner rock, lurching doom metal, psychedelic pop, and noise-drone are just a few genres they've explored since forming in the mid-'90s. As with The Melvins, it's very hard to recommend one of their albums to a new listener as a good starting point. In fact, the band is obsessed with keeping fans on their toes, and here are five of the most delightful ways they've done exactly that.

5. Recycling album titles

Heavy Rocks was one of three albums released by Boris this year (the others being New Album and Attention Please). If you're getting a sense of deja vu all over again, that's because the group also released an album in 2002 that was called...wait for it...Heavy Rocks. Both albums have the nearly the same cover, but the 2002 one is orange, while the latest is purple.

4. Alternate mixes and shuffled track listings

In the 1960's, bands like The Beatles had different track listings for early U.S. and U.K. releases. Boris have done the same. The U.S. and Japanese versions of their 2008 release Smile, for example, not only had different track listings, but also had completely different mixes by separate producers. Compare the above clip of the U.S. version's "Laser Beam" with the Japanese version's "Hanate!"

3. Exclusive albums for concertgoers

Boris is fond of rewarding concertgoers with exclusive albums. When Boris and drone-legends Sunn O))) convened in London in 2007 to perform their collaborative work Altar, they pressed 551 copies of the album as a three LP picture-disc vinyl box set to be sold exclusively at that show, and nowhere else.

2. Completely revamping songs live

Sure, many bands change recorded songs by throwing in longer guitar solos or milking choruses when they play live. Boris, however, has been known to completely change up the program. Take their 1996 debut album Absolutego, a 65-minute doom-metal classic. They performed it in its entirety a few years ago live, but did the whole thing in under 16 minutes.

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