Live Rock and Roll Reviews and Suggestions

Concert Review: Keiji Haino / Sala Rossa / Montreal

A row of amps hummed with dead air when Keiji Haino walked on stage near midnight. Dressed all in black, trademark sunglasses that never leave the face, and long hair now grey, he had a presence that drew respectful silence. During soundcheck we heard jarring squalls of analog synth noise and sporadic stabs of a drum machine kick.

Haino opened with an atonal guitar drone piece, carving out giant slabs of distorted sound. His guitar was to have this highly overdriven tone for much of the set, largely achieved from the sheer volume and drive of his long row of amplifiers—often so distorted as to conceal any discernible melody. Intensity would pick up and he would violently raise his guitar into the air to bring a chord crashing brutally down, hair flying. A particularly powerful moment came with his exploration of vast dynamic range, tearing at his strings with enormous power and immediately muting them for near-silence.