Godspeed You! Black Emperor Live @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire (20/04/15)

Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s return to both music and live performances since the release of 2012’s ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend’ has brought joy to fans of the band all across the world. In support of their recent studio album of ‘Asunder! Sweet And Other Distress’, instrumental rockers Godspeed You! Black Emperor set off again, with a few dates in London for the English fans of the band. Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s performance was one of mystery and intrigue, certainly a little baffling to those who are completely unaware of what their live performances are like, but also completely engrossing as well.

The concert started with the band coming on stage individually to a darkened room to simply check their instruments, before leaving the entire audience bracing the brooding sounds of a drone for roughly ten minutes. Audiences were then treated to customary tracks from Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s live gigs, as well as a few surprises here and there, mostly in the form of two new tracks which displayed the ingenuity and craftsmanship we’ve come to know from the band. There was a quiet sense in the air during the new songs as the audience understood they were hearing the new material which has been discussed previously on the internet, but not yet committed to tape (as far as we know). These hauntingly beautiful and intense tracks will forever stick out in my head, making this an unforgettable experience.

There were a lot of elements of confusion from time to time at the concert. Mostly in the incredibly unorthodox way Godspeed You! Black Emperor presented themselves. The band simply arrived on stage, played their tracks, and then wandered back off stage, without a word to the audience. This puzzling behavior seems incredibly rude when compared to the behavior of every other band in their own live concerts, but it seems excusable for a band like this. When it comes to the music the band are offering, both on recording and in a live setting, what more do we really need? The band played each and every song with such expertise and precision, creating an incredible emotional connection with each track, whether it was the intensely charged ‘Mladic’, the hauntingly beautiful untitled second track, or the sinister brooding ‘East Hastings’.

One could not have asked for more from Godspeed You! Black Emperor. A truly unforgettable experience was presented by the band, without so much as a word being uttered by any band member. To create such a connection with the audience shows the true power of the band’s music, and how sometimes you don’t need words, or need to have something explained in order to feel something so strongly and with such power. Sometimes all you really need is just the music, which easily flow over you, inspiring a whole myriad of emotions and feeling. A strong shout-out should also be given to the excellent support band Xylorious White, whose two man team filled up the concert with a wonderful sound of drums and guitars, intriguing those who didn’t know of them before, but certainly pleasing them.


1: Hope Drone

2: Untitled Song #1

3: Mladic

4: Untitled Song #2

5: Peasantry or ‘Light! Inside of Light!’

6: Lamb’s Breath

7: Asunder, Sweet

8: Piss Crowns are Trebled

9: The Sad Mafioso

Categories: Concerts/Gigs | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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