| Sputnikmusic
 


I think it goes without saying that when it comes to the indie music universe, there was no more celebrated reunion in recent memory than that of seminal Canadian post-rock ennead Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The announcement that they were going to be curating the 2010 All Tomorrow’s Parties Christmas event in Minehead, England created such a wave of excitement that when Godspeed You! Black Emperor expanded their comeback to include a series of tours in Europe and North America tickets sold out almost as soon as they went on sale. On February 22nd, 2011 their reunion tour made its way to Pomona, California, the first of two stops in Southern California (the other being at the Music Box in Hollywood a day later).

Joining Godspeed You! Black Emperor for the night was the stoner-drone band Om. Om took the stage right before nine o’clock. Consisting of bassist and vocalist Al Cisneros (the name should be familiar to anyone who has listened to the pioneering sludge band Sleep), Emil Amos on drums (who also plays in Grails), and multi-instrumentalist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Om’s spiritual bass grooves entranced the crowd at the Fox Theater for a solid forty minutes. Playing a set consisting mainly of tracks from their God Is Good album, Cisneros’ rolling bass grooves and zen like vocals had the audience hypnotized, but this was the calm before the storm, as when it became time towards the latter half of their set, things became more ferocious, with the band reaching back in their catalog and kicking up the gain, creating a high energy, sludgy drone.

As soon as Om finished their last note, a low pitched and constant hum began to emanate from the house speakers. It continued to build, getting louder and louder until it reached its final strength. Just as the noise became inescapably loud, the venue lights dropped, and the word “hope” began to flash on two large screens placed right behind the stage. One by one, the members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor began to take their places on the stage, with each one adding to the overall cacophony. After several minutes the drone subsided and a bowed bass began to play the beginning on “Moya”. When everyone on stage except for the song’s namesake, guitarist Mike Moya, dropped out for the main guitar riff after the song’s initial build, three minutes into the performance, the crowd erupted with applause; the scene in front of them finally sinking in: after eight long years, Godspeed You! Black Emperor were back.

The majority of the band’s two and a half hour set came from 2000’s Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven. Given the length of the songs in question, Godspeed You! Black Emperor did not play these songs in their entirety, instead performing the essential movements from three of the album’s four tracks, including “Monheim” from “Sleep”, “Chart #3” and “World Police and Friendly Fire” from “Static”, and, in what was the most triumphant moment of a night full of near heart stopping beauty, “Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven” and “Gathering Storm” from the album’s opening track “Storm”. For most of the night, after the crowd’s initial fanfare during “Moya”, not a word could be heard from either the crowd or the stage, except for one lone concert goer’s cries of, “Thank you!” every so often. Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s performance was a balancing act between sullen and somber melodies and the soaring fanfare of “Storm”, tugging on their audience’s heartstrings with every aching note. Even so, those in attendance wouldn’t have it any other way. By the time that they began to play “BBF3” from 1999’s Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada, there was not a single soul in the theater that could hold back their excitement. The crowd roared as the song’s famed audio sample kicked in. The song continued to build and build until finally it broke in a resplendent crescendo of tremolo picked glory. It was the perfect close to a perfect evening.

Setlist:
Hope Drone
Moya
Albanian
Monheim
9-15-00 Part 2
Chart #3
World Police and Friendly Fire
Dead Metheny
Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven
Gathering Storm
BBF3





Athom
02.27.11
This was the best show I've ever been to. I watched the entire thing from right up against the stage barricade, dead center of the stage. the band had their gear in a half circle, behind each member pointing towards the center of the stage so I heard everything and it sounded perfectly stereo panned.

Thane
02.27.11
Sounds awesome. Still hoping they will come to Norway again. Seems unlikely though.

Defeater
02.27.11
I cannot wait to see them in Detroit at the end of March. Good read.

Relinquished
02.27.11
yeah dude when I saw them back in december with neurosis...can't even describe

just probably the best concert I've ever been in my whole life

Crysis
02.27.11
Looks great. Even though I'm not too familiar with their stuff if I had the opportunity to go I would.

Lucid
02.27.11
Saw them one day later at The Music Box. Setlist was slightly different (we got The Sad Mafioso and Rocket Falls on Rocket Falls instead of the Slow Riot tracks.) I can see this going down as the performance of the year for me, absolutely stunning stuff.

Lucid
02.27.11
*Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls

Baphomet
02.27.11
I always wondered how a live GY!BE show would be like. Amazing stuff, redsky.

Outnumbered
02.27.11
Nothing quite like a good concert.

couldwinarabbit
02.27.11
I wanna go now.

Realm
02.27.11
only 4 more weeks!

whywontyoudie
02.27.11
holy shit.

Aids
02.27.11
fuck yes Adam, I didn't know you where planning on doing this but I'm glad you did.

Seeing them in Vancouver was easily the best musical moment of my life, and I was right up against the stage by Moya's pedals. Un fucking believable. Great write up. I'm jealous you guys got Moya but we got all of Storm and Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls, so it's all good. BBF3 live is absolutely indescribable.

Aids
02.27.11
(inb4 Jash shows up to tell us all that he has the hammer of hope and three flying cats tattooed on his arm.)

Josh: "I love you guys I have your artwork inked all over my arm!" (pulls up sleeve to reveal the words from The Dead Flag Blues)
Moya: "Woah kid, you're kinda freaking me out."

Realm
02.27.11
LOL

Aids
02.27.11
they're pretty much bff now

Kiran
02.27.11
saw them in december, it was incredible

great write up dude

Defeater
02.27.11
"they're pretty much bff now"

lol

Kris.
02.27.11
sooooo were you just masturbating for two and a half hour straight in downtown pomona on a tuesday night?

wyankeif1337
02.27.11
fuck, that sounds amazing. i missed their SF dates, so bummed out.

Aids
02.27.11
I have no sympathy for anyone who "misses" this tour or otherwise doesn't jump on a tangible opportunity to make it to one of their shows. You missed the night of your life and GY!BE will likely never tour again. Congratulations, you fail at life.

Defeater
02.27.11
well it sold out in a matter of days

Lucid
02.27.11
"GY!BE will likely never tour again"
Nothing indicates that there won't be another tour. When another tour happens though is uncertain.

Taxt
02.27.11
Drove from Salt Lake to San Francisco through a blizzard and almost died ten times but it was worth it after the first song of their set

Aids
02.27.11
"Nothing indicates that there won't be another tour"
I think the more important thing is that nothing indicates that there WILL be another tour. They've been disbanded for almost a decade, I think assuming that they'll continue going on tours is pretty ridiculous. I'd bet any amount of money that they won't be touring again after this stint.

Defeater
02.27.11
Do they have shirts at their shows? I'd really like to get one.

Aids
02.27.11
yes only one design though

it's black with pretty faded gold (I guess) writing. It's mainly just nonsense and gibberish with a couple triangles. Classic Godspeed artwork, it doesn't allude to any particular album or song. I bought one though because, I mean, Godspeed shirt.

The poster is where it's at though. Absolutely beautiful original artwork. I'm not too sure on this because I have no idea what I'm talking about but I believe it's a "silkscreen" poster? I'm going to get it framed along with my ticket stub, Efrim's setlist (I rule), and maybe a couple pics if I can find any that do justice to the music.

Aids
02.27.11
actually I just pulled the shirt out of my closet. I'm looking at the back and it's pretty badass. There's some large majestic looking bird carrying a long banner in its beak which reads "WE DRIFT, LIKE TREMBLING FIRE"

Josh D.
02.27.11
If I knew more about GYBE, I would care more. But all I see is no "East Hastings" and I'm like "fuck a duck".

Aids
02.27.11
"well it sold out in a matter of days"

the Vancouver show sold out in five minutes. I was wasted, fell off my longboard on the way home at 1 AM and broke my wrist, was in the emergency room from 5 to 630 AM, came home, tried to get a few hours of sleep with my new cast, and still got up at 9:55 to buy 5 tickets right at 10:00.

THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR MISSING THEIR DATE IN A TOWN NEAR YOU. seriously, go down and try to get last minute scalped tickets. there were a handful of scalpers outside the Vancouver show and you'd probably end up paying more like $100 than $25 but....Godspeed.....

Defeater
02.27.11
I have three tickets.

Lucid
02.27.11
If I knew more about GYBE, I would care more. But all I see is no "East Hastings" and I'm like "fuck a duck".
They played the second half of East Hastings at my show. The final climax was my single favorite moment.

Josh D.
02.27.11
NOT ENOUGH.

elephantREVOLUTION
02.27.11
i'm so fucking excited to see them in chicago now.

Lucid
02.27.11
Don't go into the show with impossibly high expectations. By that I mean don't listen to Aids; it won't be the best experience of your life. It will be a fucking awesome show though.

Athom
02.27.11
it wont be the best experience of your life, but it will be close.

liledman
02.27.11
holy fuck

klap
02.27.11
what adam didn't mention was the best part of the show was meeting me in the flesh. what a stud

Knott-
02.27.11
i think thats what he meant when he said

"it wont be the best experience of your life, but it will be close"

klap
02.27.11
also i thought the crowd was pretty rowdy, there was a group of drunk dudes near the back who kept yelling in between songs. personally i thought it was funny but these fucking hipsters in front of me were clearly above it

Aids
02.27.11
[quote]but these fucking hipsters in front of me were clearly above it[/quote]
hahahahahaha
"you guys this is POST rock, you don't yell things at concerts"

AnotherBrick
02.27.11
holy shit. i cant fucking wait until i get to see them

Athom
02.27.11
From where I was, I couldn't hear anyone being douchey. and yes, Knott, that is EXACTLYwhat I meant by that.

Kiran
02.27.11
adam, give it to us straight, what was rudy like

Aids
02.27.11
every once in a while people would cheer it the middle of a quiet section or movement, but it wasn't that big of a deal

I'm jealous you got to meet klapper, I only got to meet Scoot.....
he's a bro but I mean, he's no staff member

klap
02.27.11
there were also a group of 3 bros escorted out by security, not sure if those were the same

Athom
02.27.11
Rudy is a gentleman and a scholar.

Defeater
02.27.11
did you guys exchange flannel

EyesWideShut
02.27.11
did u noticed if the entire band was there. I read that a cello player was missing or maybe this guy was just an idiot.

Defeater
02.27.11
the cello played itself that night

Athom
02.27.11
Norsola Johnson is not part of the reunion.

thebhoy
02.27.11
Excellent stuff Mr. Adam Thomas. I'm jealous

Spec
02.27.11
Very good read.

SloppyMilkshake
02.27.11
I'm seeing these guys soon. Can't wait for the show.

Lambda
02.28.11
I wanted to go to the one in Toronto, but it sold out in like 5 days..

Lucid
02.28.11
It took that long to sell out?

Lambda
02.28.11
Probably less actually, I went to buy tickets online 1 or 2 days after I found out about it, and it was sold out.

DinosaurJones
02.28.11
2 weeks. TWO WEEKS! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEee

Athom
02.28.11
you know they're playing like 4 nights in a row in Toronto, right?

spillingmercury
02.28.11
Aids I really hate you. You're the meanest salesperson ever.

Two piece tickets for 86 total on a Friday night, but there's no one around I know who'd want to see them, much less cough up 48 bucks to afford it.

ComfortablyDumb
02.28.11
April 24
April 24
April 24
April 24
April 24

ohyes.

Skimaskcheck
02.28.11
best band ever, this is an awesome write up. was so wonderful to see them

Scoot
02.28.11
yeah go see them if you have the chance. you'll regret it if you don't.

couldwinarabbit
02.28.11
Gonna have to use craig's list to get tickets.

breesuschrist
03.03.11
IM GOING ON THE 11TH IM SO FUCKING EXCITED

Lambda
03.03.11
Yeah, they're all sold out I think anyway (plus im not 19 yet, so I can only go to the all ages one).

krig9412
03.09.11
I really, really, REALLY want to see these guys live. Anyone know of Detroit dates?

IsItLuck?
03.20.11
At the date I went to they played:
1. Hope Drone
2. Gathering Storm
3. Monheim
4. Albanian
5. Chart #3
6. World Police and Friendly Fire
7. Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls
8. Moya
9. BBF3

Albanian needs to be released officially, immediately. Only thing that could have made the show better would be swapping out Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls for The Sad Mafioso, but I was more than pleased.



Aids
03.20.11
argh I'm so jealous you got all of Slow Riot. my only disappointment was that they didn't play Moya, but they did close with BBF3 in Vancouver, so it's all good I guess. I would have liked The Cowboy or The Sad Mafioso, but I wasn't counting on either. Like you said, more than pleased.

Scoot
03.20.11
fuuuuuu to those that got east hastings

IsItLuck?
03.20.11
Poster that was talked about before: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28763370@N03/5544198795/

spillingmercury
03.21.11
Poster is crazy beautiful. Luck, which date did you go to?

IsItLuck?
03.21.11
3/16 @ The Masonic Temple in Brooklyn

You need to be logged in to post a comment
Login | Register

FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy