Godspeed You! Black Emperor
When the end of the world comes, somewhere they’ll be a bar full of misunderstood lonely hearts and Godspeed You! Black Emperor will be on the jukebox.
The needle will land on ‘Dead Flag Blues’ from their 1997 debut F#A#∞ and an eerie voice will say: “The car is on fire… and there’s no driver at the wheel… I said ‘kiss me you’re beautiful’…these are truly the last days”.
GSY!BE have been away for seven years. A ragtag collective of publicity-shy musicians and anarchists, the band make experimental, apocalyptic prog rock that has the power to both scare the living daylights out of adults and soothe babies into a blissful sleep.
After providing the world with a soundtrack for the angst-ridden aftermath of the Twin Towers attacks, they’ve resurfaced to watch an economic melt-down and a lot of red-faced politicians shake their fists at Wikileaks. They always did have an acute sense of timing.
Like fellow Montrealers, Arcade Fire, GSY!BE fill the stage with musicians and instruments, but there the comparisons end. Nobody else makes music quite like this. To give you an idea of what we’re dealing with, the band’s third record Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven is an instrumental wonder made up of four, twenty-minute tracks. It’s orchestral, ambient and resolutely cinematic with long slow builds to angry bursts of guitars, strings and French horn.
GSY!BE play Apolo on January 29th and let us say this as clearly as we can: this is not a gig for the faint-hearted. Nor is it one to cajole your pop-loving friends into coming along to. The last question loyal fans want to answer is when there’s going to be a chorus. There’s not going to be one.
The problem for GSY!BE is how to translate their ‘perfect for listening to at home’ sound into a live setting. Previously they played against a backdrop of film loops and they’ll need something similar now to stop you yearning for a mosh pit or a nice sit down.
Like a never-ending car journey on a moonless night, GSY!BE can leave you feeling anxious, uplifted and lonesome. If you go to the gig, meet your loved ones after the show for cocktails and comforting hugs and ask the barman to make it a double.
January 29th - Apolo