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88 Boadrum

August 9, 2008 by garry

The concept: 88 drummers play for 88 minutes at 8:08 p.m. on 08-08-08. Can you say numerology? The original Boadrum event, conceived and led by Tokyo band the Boredoms on 07-07-07 in Brooklyn, New York, was so levitating and legendary, that there was no way for mankind to prevent it from re-materializing for a second coming. And that it did a year and a month later, helmed again by the Boredoms at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, California and on the same evening by Gang Gang Dance at the Williamsburg Waterfront in Brooklyn. By the time 8:08 p.m. rolled around at the Pits, an unbelievable amount of people, 5,000 strong, formed a gigantic living, breathing donut all around the drummers, as a huge gob of jelly splooged out onto an adjacent grassy knoll. The anticipation crackling in the air was more exciting than the explosion of the Hindenburg. Oh, the humanity!

The concert, which in concept calls to mind the 400 electric guitar symphonies of Rhys Chatham, began with the Boredoms on drums on a circular central stage completely surrounded by the 88 drummers at their kits. A long opening section filled with nothing but sizzling cymbal washes punctuated by lone tom hits eventually became obliterated by smatterings of whole-kit free jazz destruction that wildly ping-ponged throughout the entire area. Eventually, the proceedings ebbed on into long swaths of tribal rhythm pound, backed up with Boredoms leader Yamatsuka Eye's beautiful singing, minimal synth washes and brutal strum 'n' strike on his one-of-a-kind guitar tree sculpture. The music occasionally slowly shifted back and forth into more abstract areas and rose to several apocalyptic crescendos, as well.

When all the dust settled, the piece actually passed the 88-minute mark by at least a good 15 minutes, but who's counting? Probably that one lone numerologist in the audience who sat huddled off in the corner transcribing the evening's sounds into pure mathematics. But fuck that, though. Words, photos and videos will never do a concert like this justice. You definitely had to be there to appreciate the amazing spatial aspects of the performance. In fact, 88 Boadrum was so special and unique, I hope it never happens again. I don't really like when stuff gets run into the ground, you know.


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