Absolutely mesmerised is the clearest description of my reaction to the recent performance of Japanese heavy psych powerhouse Hibushibire at JT Soar. After a delayed, confusing and relatively lack lustre opening, the atmosphere at the former veg warehouse grows and grows to incendiary levels.
The Contact High, following a few false starts, stir the fledgling crowd with their surprisingly groovy wall of noise. Unfortunately it was over almost as soon as it had started.
Next, like a sledgehammer to the face , Damn Craters tear into their set. The tone of the evening changes drastically with the first chug of the guitars and thump of the drums. Furious and largely high tempo hard rock pumps from the speakers and is met with a wave of head nodding before eventually some dancing breaks out. This is a visceral attack on the senses: pounding drums, thundering bass and thrashing riffs all tied together by the impassioned performance of vocalist SY. That man can f**king rock. Hair and dress flowing and billowing as he snarls into the mic, he is enthralling and channels the energy of a wounded dog, chained to the stage but desperate to break out and tear away.
This energy is coupled by a well-cultivated understanding of rhythm and groove. As powerful and hard hitting Damn Craters are, they maintain a hip-swaying vibe with their seriously groovy riffs. The crowd approval makes it clear with shouts of ‘that’s dead good, that is’ after almost every song. Even in their softer moments, the Nottingham-based band rock hard and offer a much need change in tempo especially before such a revered headliner.
Having listened to Hibushibire on record but with no idea what to expect from a live performance, it’s safe to say I was blown away. Guitarist Chang Chang can best be described as a virtuoso. Aesthetically the band rock the whole psych look, skinny jeans to flares, floral shirts and waist coats, long flowing hair – as a bald man I was envious to say the least.
The basslines of 821 and the percussive rhythms of Ryo hold a fantastically tight and precise platform for the fuzz and groove of Chang Chang’s majestic guitar skills. We are treated to an inspiring and powerful and intricate drum solo along with standout basslines, but still it’s Chang Chang’s artistry that steals the show. Even with simpler guitar parts this band are undeniably cool, but instead they really are something special.
The crowd repeatedly find themselves stood in awe, spellbound and grinning stupidly at the technical skill of these majestic solos and face melting sounds tonight. As Hibushibire bring the night to a close, they are met with euphoric applause and beaming, sweaty smiles.
Hibushibire played JT Soar on Friday 17 May.