For the first time since 2003, Godspeed You! Black Emperor will steamroll their wall of sound through Texas! *Gasp* As a longtime fan, I’m thrilled at the very idea of getting to see them perform in my city. When they first announced their reunion and U.S. tour, I had no doubts they wouldn’t come play Texas, and I made a solemn ninja oath that I’d take a road trip to whichever city would be the closest to Texas on their tour. That was Nashville, TN. That was last year. Because when a band like this tours, a band that is the king and monarch of your Desert Island playlist… your “I wish they’d come to my town” band…. your “What if they go on hiatus again?!” band… you make the necessary plans to see them. You get with your friends and plan the road trip of your life to see the concert of your dreams. That’s exactly what I did last year. One road trip, riddled with car troubles, exhaustion, high-fives, hugs and arguments for what was the biggest thrill of my year then.
Seeing Godspeed as a regular touring act again is a huge thrill as well. Long gone are the days of listening to their live bootlegs on Archive.org and watching the Youtube videos with incredibly bad audio quality. Now we can listen to the album and know, I mean really know, that we’ll really get the chance to see them. No daydreaming. Really get to see just how the hell a huge band like that cues their movements with zero communication. Without even so much as raising their heads at eachother, in fact. They just zone in and feel it out. The power, emotion, and suspense of the myriad layers of sound is something that is unique to Godspeed’s shows. Mix that with the projected, live film loops (it’s real film, not digital) and an audience that stands as if they are in the presence of a towering goliath, and your brain will just have to push out all of your best memories to give space to this one night.
Here are some reviews of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s past concerts:
“They play with the poise of a professional chamber group, no getting around it. And while a typical chamber group’s prepared encore and the ritualistic little curtain call/applause handshake that invites it is an overwrought but expected (and welcomed) departure from the one-way concert transmission, Godspeed doesn’t play in that sandbox.” -David Cocoran (SF Weekly)
“Very few performances leave me completely, utterly drained at the end of them, even from standing absolutely still… Each song showed the trademark brilliance that GY!BE brings to their work: a small, delicate, achingly slow melody, with members adding elements one by one, and then suddenly shifting the tempo into a much heavier gear, building the song to an unfathomable intensity and filling the room with the volume and density of a hundred musicians onstage, before collapsing back down and dissipating even faster than it was conjured into being. Every single one of the songs was its own world, an entire performance in the time for half of an opening band’s set.” -Jonathan Pirro (Spinning Platters)
“Godspeed writes songs of calm desperation, gentle guitar and violin melodies that repeat until the tension breaks and the band releases the melody into a whirl of bass, drums, and brash, trebly instrumentals. If there is a soothing message to pull from these epics it is that ultimately the crescendo will fall and leave us to our relaxation…Godspeed’s music and art matches the rise-and-fall of empires and the lonely citizen together, beginning as it does with hope, until the noise of failure and futility overwhelms us, and we end somewhere without, a new quiet calm, a new center…” -Zack F. (All My Friends)
Below is some footage of Godspeed live at the Gagarin Club in Athens to get an idea of the whole experience, but believe me it’s not the same as being there. In the way that you can’t see a photo of a monument and feel like you’ve really seen it, this is something that you can only know through experiencing it.
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