Japanese noiseniks Boredoms make history, pounding the ground between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges alongside 77 indie and avant-garde scene stalwarts.
Boredoms perform 77Boardrum [2007 Rewind]City: Brooklyn, NY
Venue: Brooklyn Bridge Park
You are the 78th member! This is because the sound will spiral outwards, from left to right, like DNA, from deep inside of us right out to you. The 77 drum group is one giant instrument, one living creature. The 77 boardrum will coil like a snake and transform to become a great dragon! So reads the opening page of the program for Boredoms’ 77Boardrum performance. The concept is pretty simple -- a Japanese noise band with an American cult following performs a one-time symphony accompanied by 77 drummers underneath the Brooklyn Bridge on 07/07/07. Apparently the show was to have taken place the previous year on 06/06/06, but the planners pulled the plug when they realized that interest in the free performance was much larger than anticipated, and their venue could not legally hold even half the expected crowd. More concerned with pulling this off the right way, the organizers pushed the event back an entire year. Buzz for the event only grew -- alongside speculation that the free performance would never actually happen. This year fans were required to RSVP before the event, and the crowd was still limited to the park’s capacity. Interested parties were encouraged to line up outside by 3pm (the performance started, of course, at 7). Hundreds of people were reportedly in line as early as 2pm. When I get off the A train at High Street, it’s not hundreds but thousands of people who are patiently waiting in the shadows of DUMBO, snaking in a long line through the streets between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. Some play cards, others read—all thankful they aren’t out roasting in the sun. The line doesn’t move for long segments of time. Various event staff pop out to manage the expectations of the increasingly restless mob outside, even going so far as to institute cut-off points between the “getting in’s” and the “going home’s.” Very few people are detracted, hissing at these messengers, refusing to believe that they will not be part of the day’s program. The buzz circulating through the crowd is hard to ignore, and everyone becomes simultaneously excited about the show and depressed about the possibility of not making the cut. Several people around me begin phoning friends, hoping they can hop up in line, while others leave voicemails taunting and threatening those who have lost faith and left already. It’s not until quarter-past five that I am allowed through the rusty front gates of the park and through three levels of patdown and securities (who do the Boredoms have beef with?). My eyes fall upon 77 idle drum kits, organized in a seashell swirl, sitting in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge with the Manhattan skyline in the distance. I do not know what I expected to find when (or if) I entered the venue, but I immediately realize that all of the hype surrounding this event is justified. This is a show people will be talking about for years to come. This is a show that will make me -- though I’m not a huge fan to begin with -- a Boredoms believer. * * *