Live Review: 88 Boadrum - La Brea Tar Pits - Los Angeles, CA
Tue, 12 Aug 2008 11:02:20
It all began with the sound of a waterfall. Or maybe it was a tidal wave, as the rushing swell of cymbals rose up from the spiral of 88 drummers congregated at Los Angeles’ La Brea Tar Pits. Oscar Wilde may have said “Life imitates art more than art imitates life,” but at the Los Angeles installment of 88 Boadrum, art, life and music merged into a sonic avalanche.
Curated by Japanese noise experimentalists, the Boredoms, the group of 88 drummers—gleaned from groups ranging from Bauhaus to XBXRX—began their 88 minute performance at precisely 8:08pm (yes, on 8/8/08). The Boredoms are anything but boring. Functioning as the confluence between music and art, they have challenged expectation and convention through their cacophonous free form jams. But don’t put on any tie dye yet, because 88 Boadrum is not your typical drum circle outside a Ben & Jerry’s. This hurricane of drums rolled together in a highly-organized structure, led by the Boredoms at the eye of the storm. At the center of the great spiral, the Boredoms vocalist, Yamantaka Eye, conducted the raucous symphony, first with slow bass drum kicks, then adding the snare, before eventually evolving into tribal, krautrock beats. The concept was anything but simple. Each drummer followed the lead of the drummer on the right, swirling the beats out from the spiral’s center. Eye’s chants resonated over the low rumble, periodically stopping to smash a wand into a contraption made of seven guitar necks. Visceral and primitive, the beat grew louder and softer as the drummers played off of each other under Eye’s manic direction.
For the thousands of people assembled just a few feet from fake mastodons and synthetic saber-toothed cats gallivanting in L.A.’s finest tar, 88 Boadrum provided a driving, percussive pulse for ass shaking and introspection. Then when the 88 minutes were nearly up, the drummers slowly returned to the slow tsunami of cymbals that began the show. Boadrum was truly an inimitable moment where music imitated art imitating life.