BELGIUM’S SPIRITUAL BOUNDARY-PUSHERS HIT CRITICAL MASS
JAPAN’S BORIS  are playing their new album Dear in full tonight, and opener D.O.W.N. – Domination Of Waiting Noise is exactly what you’d expect: a droning, dense wall of noise played in near-darkness with occasional strobes of light. They also stray into doom, garage rock and moments of melody. It’s just a shame that the overbearing volume drowns out many moments of their set.
AMENRA  live are an all-consuming experience, right from frontman Colin H van Eeckhout’s skulking arrival, as he crouches on the floor and pounds two pipes together ritualistically while the other members pad softly onstage. The anticipation is agonising, and it doesn’t end when they finally delve into the desolate Boden while barren black and white natural imagery flashes on the screen behind them. Tonight’s set is all about contrasts so severe they yank your senses and emotions in different directions, particularly with his vocals that vary from harrowing wails to painfully fragile whispers. Van Eeckhout is a profoundly physical performer, twisting and distorting his body with his back to the audience; though he occasionally turns to face us, it’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it. He’s immersed in the music, fully letting go in a way that’s unselfconsciously primal and also incredibly emotionally affecting. Though Amenra are undeniably bleak, there’s an odd catharsis in their outpouring, and though you feel battered by the time they quietly slip offstage – they’re not ones for encores – there is also a relieving sense of purge and release.
HANNAH MAY KILROY
amenra’s colin h van eeckhout enters a higher state
Boris’s sound gets lost in a purple haze