ry typing “Boredom” or even “Boredoms” into a YouTube search key and you’ll find a thousand or so of some of the most embarrassing home movies on the internet. Nevertheless, there is a fair amount of footage to be found on Boredoms (the band), however much is lacking. My biggest regret was that there was none of their infamous Lollapalooza trek in the mid-90s, where they were playing alongside Smashing Pumpkins, The Beastie Boys, and others whose audiences were flabbergasted at Yamatsuka Eye in suntanning goggles shrieking at the audience like a banshee (one of MTV News’ all-time best out-of-place moments).
The clips in this article are supposed to display the progression that Eye & co. made from their outlandish noise beginnings in the alternative 90s boom, through the ritualistictribalsungodcatharsis of their middle period, to the balled-up energy of their most recent live tour.
(We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that the absolute best nugget available online is on Google Video (which you can find here), containing a fifteen minute tour diary of Boredoms’ 1993 trek, which features, amongst other things, Matt Groening drawing Bart Simpson saying “I love the Boredoms, man!” for the band, hanging out with and gushing over Bad Brains, opening for Nirvana and doing a mic check with Pat Smear, and some of the craziest mosh pits ever caught on tape.)
This video comes pretty close to capturing the blearing chaos of the Boredoms in the early-90s. Playing an insistent metal riff and shrieking and howling during the in-betweens, this clip taken from the New York New Music Seminar on their ’93 tour shows Eye delirious, exhausted from screaming and nearing collapse, but still able to go for one last leap into a mass of grungy hands.
A music video released for their Super Roots collection, this is an ideal representation of The Boredoms’ supreme sense of humor. Featuring a bass drum helmet, half a trombone, and a sitar that’s obviously not being played, the “Super Roots” video is postmodernism at its finest, incorporating historical objects and recreating them into goofy spectacle. And then there’s the crime short at the end, with Yoshimi breaking in only to find bassist Yamamoto playing over the toilet with a roll of toilet paper hanging off of his guitar neck. Whoops! er, What?!
The beginning of this promo video for “Super Go!!!” shows a blood-orange sun rise in the distance and then transitions rapidly to Eye, now fully dreaded and engaged in total euphoria, dancing with joy and aching to break into the stratosphere. At the song’s peak, the stage is illuminated by a light so bright that it becomes indiscernible from the big star—and you think that maybe he’s already there.
After a brief interview with Eye and Yoshimi in Japanese, it flashes to an excerpt from their set at this mammoth festival. While he has always been the center of attention, it felt like Eye was striving to be the supreme ruler, dictating the movements and reactions of the band and the crowd. As the raving shaman in the Super configuration of the band, he still wasn’t entirely there. But as the DJ at the turn of the millennium, visor and huge T-shirt in tow, he finally found a way to be the grandmaster in complete control, throwing a dance party without turntables that trumps most, if not all, of the ones with them.
When Eye did this at Webster Hall this past summer in New York, it was equally awesome. The man who had tried so hard to reach the sun had finally become it. And yes, the noise being made is coming out of those magical orbs.
The finest and most ecstatic moment—next to the intro—of the Boredoms’ set on their most recent tour. Specifically, this video has the finest sound and visual quality of the many available on YouTube. This minute-and-a-half breakdown should be reason enough to convince naysayers.