Godspeed You! Black Emperor is a band that was introduced to me late in their career. I was seventeen and working as a barista for the first time when a super cool older co-worker brought them up in conversation. He was shocked when I said I had never heard of them and the next day I found myself with one of their albums, Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada, blasting throughout my 2002 Dodge Neon. From that day on, seeing GY!BE live was high ranking on my to-do list.
Fast forward almost a decade and there I was, last Saturday at First Avenue, finally checking it off of my list. Touring off of their most recent album, “Luciferian Towers,” Godspeed You! Black Emperor came through the Twin Cities on a nation spanning tour with fellow experimental rockers KGD and The Hand in tow.
The Hand is a local band who I went into the evening not knowing anything about but was already googling them as I walked out of the venue. Their sound is rough around the edges but pleasing to the ears. Not unlike KGD, the other opening band, who created the perfect setting to get everyone ready for the main act.
When Godspeed You! Black Emperor hit the stage, they went almost immediately into playing fan favorites, and didn’t stop until they left the stage. Their experimental sound lends itself to things getting very “jammy,” which isn’t a bad thing at all. There were a few guitars and basses, drums, and even a violin and cello at times, all of which melded together and played off of each other. Watching them “do their thing” at one of my favorite venues of all time (shoutout to First Ave!) after nearly a decade of being a huge fan was the perfect way to spend a Saturday night after being sick all week. I could tell, too, that I wasn’t the only one that felt grateful just to witness GY!BE playing the songs I love live.
After a setlist that was short in titles but quite lengthy time-wise, the show finally came to an end. It wasn’t the usual wild show with jumping around and a little bit of shoving that I’ve gotten used to, but it was a welcome change up the status quo, which is exactly how I would describe Godspeed You! Black Emperor themselves. It wasn’t until after I left the venue and stepped out into the cold air that I remembered that it was St. Patrick’s Day. I rushed into my Lyft and headed home, happy to have spent my “holiday” how I did.
- Hope Drone
- Bosses Hang
- Undoing A Luciferian Towers
- Dead Methany