While most of the East London scene spent the last few years falling in love with their parents 80s record collections, Bo Ningen has risen up to tear a sonic hole through the heart of live music in the UK capital. Their shows are already legendary experiences that invariably conclude with a finale of destruction as the band merges into a mess of hair, limbs, and guitars.
Formed just a couple of years ago, this Japanese-born, London-based quartet has created a sonic roller-coaster that triangulates the spirit of prog rock, acid-fuzzed psychedelia, and booming black metal into a whole new beast altogether. “We don’t care about sounding like any other band,” explains guitarist Yuki. That refusal to adhere to a single reference point is what sets them apart from their contemporaries.
The early days of Bo Ningen saw their sound evolve organically through long jam sessions. This dynamic spills out into their live shows, which are only loosely connected to the oscillating guitars and Sabbath-esque riffing scattered across their debut record. The songs are little more than a framework or a suggestion, and every gig sees them engineer riotous-but-regimented chaos with ad-libbed vocals and wild improvisations. It’s a cacophonous, unrestrained frenzy that rarely relents for more than a moment.
They’ve acknowledged that living in the UK has offered a greater freedom to grow and support themselves than in Japan, where it’s often harder for underground bands to exist without a major label record deal. With identical black clothes and overgrown-Ramones haircuts, they cut a pretty memorable figure too - imposing and alien. It would be pretentious if it weren’t such fun.
Taigen, Kohhei, Yuki, Mon-chan