Almost exactly two years ago, I saw Godspeed You! Black Emperor in Vancouver after years of assuming I had missed my chance. Two years on and the band have actually released a new record and are still on the road. Thanks to the ATP Festival, the band are currently touring Australia for the very first time and on Thursday night I saw them pummel the Enmore Theatre.
As is their habit, Godspeed came out one by one to play the Hope Drone which slowly built up and merged into Mladic from last year’s ‘ALLELUJAH! DON’T BEND! ASCEND!. The way Mladic coalesces from its chaotic intro into it’s powerfully nasty onslaught with all eight band members pounding away on their instruments is a sight to behold (never mind how it sounds).
Moya was on my wishlist and the band dutifully indulged me early on (sadly, The Sad Mafioso would go unplayed) and followed it up with Monheim, Chart #3, and World Police – all from Lift Yr. Skinny Fists. World Police And Friendly Fire was particularly vicious and was made all the more so by the images of fires and factories projected behind the mostly seated band. While “hope” is perhaps the oft-overlooked key element in Godspeed’s music, they do apocalyptic despair pretty well too.
The night ended with the only “new” Godspeed song of the past ten years (the material on last year’s record was old old old), the appropriately titled Behemoth. The “song” is about 45 minutes long and features four distinct movements: it’s opening, lurching march; a second drone portion; and two final movements that ultimately climax into a pretty incredible melody. Will this make up the next Godspeed You! Black Emperor record? Will we wait another ten years? Or will they simply disappear again? Who knows. But with only a few shows scheduled beyond last night’s ATP slot in Melbourne, I am incredibly thankful I got to spend one more night in a room with them.
World Police And Friendly Fire