Godspeed You! Black Emperor makes it worth to wait

I’ve been looking forward to seeing the band GY!BE for pretty much years. Ever since my class mate Geertjan introduced me to them in my first year at uni. I was pretty much hooked on the band instantly and their label Constellation Records. I wouldn’t say I’m a devout fan, but I was a bit nervous in 013, while waiting for the band to start.

It was the ‘Dead Flag Blues’ that got me into this band. A song with the most harrowing spoken part I’ve ever heard.

We’re trapped in the belly of this horrible machine
And the machine is bleeding to death..

Then the band fell apart, but like any group that has so much to say, these guys didn’t stick to their hiatus forever and took a break of about 8 years only to return completely reinvented and reinvigorated with ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!’ The sound is now much heavier and bass driven, but still pretty much the best band in whatever you want to call the genre out there.

So standing rather close to the stage I enjoyed the opening tunes of K/G/D, a noise musician, normally active with his act Total Life or Growing. The warm drones feel very natural and organic, only slightly deviating when the musician twits and turns some knobs. It’s a performance of only half an hour, but a very welcome start for a show filled with similar sounds. You don’t need to much appetizer before a band like GY!BE.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor-2

In a circle or semi-circle in a way, the band slowly emerges and starts on their opening tune ‘Hope Drone’, which swells with every addition to a full orchestration. This is Godspeed You! Black Emperor at their best, creating music that keeps you tense and excited throughout the listening experience. Obviously there’s no rock’n’roll banter, there’s just the music and the audience. Without skipping a note, the band continues on with ‘Mladic’, the opener of their return album with strange eastern elements woven into it. The band doesn’t even break their stride and continues ever onward.

The set is a mixture of songs from the last two records, which are just way more heavy and driven, leaving the postrock staples behind a bit. Sure, the repetition is still an essential element to the music of the Canadian group, but it’s changed with its time and that’s the best thing in this case. New song ‘Buildings’ specially dragged me along with its majestic visuals of towering sky scrapers and mild build-ups with warm tones.

As a desert a bit of the old back catalogue is played with ‘Blaise Bailey Finnegan III’, which stands apart on every level from the rest of the set. It shows the huge difference in sound between the band then and now. But still, they tower over anyone else in this genre.

Photo’s by Paul Verhagen | Website

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