Live Music + Gig Reviews

Boom Boom Satellites @ Monarch

17 June 2002

Boom Boom Satellites havebeen around for quite a while. Coming up for their third album, the trio has setthe scene in techno-jazz-break-rock-hiphop, and have produced sounds the likesof which have never been heard before. This is why in their native Japan theypack arenas and do soundtracks to video games. But tonight they’re playingto the sold-out crowd of the curious and the dedicated in the Monarch.

They start the set with four new songs. They’re raucous, much more break and drum’n’bass than their previouswork. Older tracks are mixed well while the more ambientovertures are replaced by a more guitar-based sound. Limbo has leadsinger Michiyuki Kawashima taking full advantage of his vocoder to wonderfuleffect and Your Reality’s A Fantasy, But Your Fantasy Is Killing Me,featuring vocals from Chuck D, starts with horns and samples and gathersmomentum like a man coming up on his first pill into a cacophony offantastically tight and orchestrated rock.

Bassist/DJ/sound-tech Masayuki Katano’s ability to handle two sounddesks, an Apple Mac and a bass, often at the same time with absolutely nobreakdown, just blew me the fuck away. The drummer has a completelyexpressionless face while the maelstrom that are his arms deliver flawlessdrum’n’bass and techno beats to a hypnotised floor.

As sweat drips from the genius brow of Katano I’m reminded of the onlyother time I’ve felt this way when listening to live music – 1998, squatparty in Hackney on an insurmountable amount of drugs, dancing like ademented monkey to the Sound Collective. Like Boom Boom Satellites they mademe want to dance like an animal and have violent sex with everyone in theroom. But here I was sober.

And by the looks of it the crowd agrees, melting the normally staunchEnglish constitution of ‘live music = no dance’. The Monarch disintegrates into a danceclub. And I could do nothing but join in.

When the set is over no one wants them to go, and in accordance with allthings right and sane they demand more. So the Satellites forget Monarchprotocol and do an encore, which is as fast and furious as the entire set. Ican say no more. These guys rock like bastards.

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Boom Boom Satellites @ Monarch