Live: Sunn O))), Boris, And Ian Astbury Struggle Through A Brooklyn Masonic Temple Show Plagued By Power Issues And Cops [Updated]


Sunn O))) and Boris/BXI
Brooklyn Masonic Temple
September 6, 2010

Better than: Sun King, the Cult tribute band.

Time has a way of getting suspended at shows involving Boris and fellow Southern Lord labelmates Sunn O))). But usually, it tends towards the extreme, not the abrupt.

When the much-anticipated collaboration between Japanese power trio Boris, former White Heaven guitar god Michio Kurihara, and Cult frontman Ian Astbury was announced, expectations were high for the newly christened BXI. For the first two numbers, the sweatpants-clad Astbury’s howl was lost in the band’s hurricane. But when he sang, “This is the end, beautiful friend” in full-on bloated Jimbo mode, I realized that my dream cover song was the Doors’ “The End” as rendered by just this band, and they were actually doing it. Except the tune abruptly ended after five minutes (way before he would’ve walked on down the hall), apparently due to power issues [though perhaps not, see below], and within an abbreviated-seeming half-hour, BXI were off entirely.

The last time Sunn O))) filled the Brooklyn Masonic Temple with smoke and squall, two hours wafted past in a primordial haze. But there were duration issues of a different sort tonight, as continual power issues silenced ALTAR, the collaboration between Sunn and Boris, for 45 minutes. When such issues were finally sorted out, they made a furious return, with Boris drummer Atsuo Mizuno diving into the crowd to recharge the room. Their anus-tickling frequencies were interspersed with moments of trombone blasts, the electrified curlicues of Kurihara, and a Death Valley dirge voiced by opener Jesse Sykes that was slow and sublime. ALTAR had swelled to a ten-piece by that point, but as the clock neared 1 a.m., they wound up silenced by that other power authority, the NYPD. The cops, unlike Astbury’s narrator, had no trouble walking down the hall and shutting the show down. The crowd dispersed quietly, sensing the night had long been doomed.

The Crowd: Tatted, black-clad, deaf
Random Notebook Dump: As a teen, I crashed the family car into the side of our house to the strains of the Cult’s “Edie (Ciao Baby).”
Overheard: “No way, dude, no fucking way. They can’t shit the bed here. No fucking way.”

UPDATE: Blackened Music Series rep Adam Shore says, both in a chat with us and a statement made to Brooklyn Vegan, that the cops just happened to show up right as the show was ending: “The cops did come to see what the noise was all about, right as ALTAR was playing their final song. They did not shut it down – in fact they seemed amused at the spectacle.” Also, he says that abbreviated as it seemed, “BXI’s set was not cut short due to power issues. They played all four songs on their EP and the Doors cover. That was their whole set — they don’t have any other material.”