Avant-garde Japanese chamber music. No! Come back! It's great!...

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Boredoms : London South Bank Royal Festival Hall

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Boredoms : London South Bank Royal Festival Hall

Ten years ago a Boredoms gig would be a crazed, rag-tag affair filled with stinky crusty anarcho-punks. The band would be leaping around the stage like epileptics and playing lots of messy, shouty songs but nobody could really tell the difference between any of them because they’d all taken acid.

These days, The Flaming Lips are naming albums after Boredoms drummer Yoshimi (‘Battles The Pink Robots’) and the Japanese four-piece are playing gigs like this – support to former Velvet Underground art-hag John Cale at a nice, comfy sit-down Royal venue. Everybody is wearing suits and eating ice cream. There are old people nodding their heads. What the hell is going on?

Well, much like The Flaming Lips, Boredoms have matured extremely well. Sure, there was a savage attraction in their earlier, wilfully unlistenable material, but tonight they play us an hour of disciplined, highly structured avant-garde chamber music and it’s amazing. Like an Oriental version of Spiritualized via the traditional Japanese koto music that you hear in posh sushi restaurants. But with three drummers conducted by a mad professor called Yamatsuka Eye. There are also bells, whistles, screams and monkey noises. It was outta sight, as old people would say.

Andy Capper