Japanese Voyeuers, Sonisphere UK Bohemia Stage, July 8 2011

Following their impressive tour with Black Spiders, it’s now the time for Japanese Voyeurs to take grunge by the balls and yank it into the modern world.

Just over a week ago, their highly anticipated full-length debut Yolk was released – signalling that their first chapter begins here.  Kicking and screaming, or in full compliance, we back them to do it. 

Many might have opted for the Apollo Stage to see Brian Tatler’s Diamond Head, who were on at the same time as the five-piece, but anyone who gambled with a trip down to the Bohemia tent were not disappointed.  For most people in attendance, this was the performance that began Sonisphere 2011, and importantly gauging this factor, the London-based act positively opened the weekend.

Grunge might have died, but the Voyeurs are attempting to violently resuscitate it with heavier shock treatment, blasting away any scaly, archaic penchant to replica the greats by initially polishing dusty bones – only to rearrange them with their own neurotic dirt-coating.

You’re So Cool began the impassioned set – the track best adjusting anyone previously ignorant of their work – representing their schizophrenic intervals of noise-infested, bass-driven quirks and subtle yet intoxicating vocal interludes.  Front-woman Romily Alice providing the latter in a craze of soft, crackling inflections and whelps – like Siouxsie And The Banshees just had 50 lashings with a good boot up the backside to follow.

Even attempting and succeeding with a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ Closer, Japanese Voyeurs proved that their bold ambitions are backed by a sturdy spine of reinvention that assures they’re ready to take on almost anything.  Finishing their set with a fantastic rendition of the eerie Smother Me, the Voyeurs not only got people ticking over for a debauched festival, but they proved that they could be the worthy entity to push grunge forward somewhat.

Calum Robson