Home > Dirge, Jazz & Avant, Metal, Post-rock > REVIEW: Godspeed You! Black Emperor @ Crystal Ballroom (Portland, OR – 2/18/11)

REVIEW: Godspeed You! Black Emperor @ Crystal Ballroom (Portland, OR – 2/18/11)

19th Feb 11 (Sat) Leave a comment Go to comments


Video flickers “hope” on loop. Slow build with piercing tones presumably of guitar mixed with cello & screams in the violin pickups. The vapors turn into steam, the bowing more frantic, random percussive shakes. Eight minutes, the first hits on a high hat. The steam now turning into an impending waterfall. “Hope” still flickers. The impending waterfall never comes. The sounds fall away into sweepy hallways.

Clean guitars, gentle malleted vibes, as the guitar soars upwards with the violins. The screen text and numbers jumble. The pace expands and explodes, then stabilizes. Guitars are the backbone, the drums brisk, the xylo/vibes, on the other hand, are furious. Gasping. Grasping. They’re trying to escape. The drums take over, the other players fall to the side. A stringed étude tucks it away.

Violin warming up, workshop hammering percussion until the sounds become like a train leaving the station. This one built quicker than the prior pieces. More Mogwaian versus Sigurrósient. Churning turns into hints of melodic keys. Maybe they were just car keys… it’s turned more into a tumultuous rock instrumental.  Rush.

That was the first forty minutes. The rest of Godspeed You! Black Emperor‘s two-plus hour set was full of highs and lows, and all the things that make post-rock so wondrous and confounding. Sweeping movements with The Anatomy of Melancholy text and images flashing above the band’s heads. I think sprinting away from convention is what makes this music so magical. Shying away from the press definitely adds to the mystery.

Setlist: (thanks Jason & others)

  • Hope Drone
  • Moya
  • Albanian
  • Monheim
  • Dead Metheny
  • (unknown)
  • 09-15-00 (outro)
  • Chart #3
  • World Police & Friendly Fire
  • Gathering Storm
  • Blaise Bailey Finnegan III (aka BBF3)

Sorry for no photos from the show… t’was too packed, dark and I decided to hang back and enjoy anyway.  My opinion of the opener in the comment section.

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

Next show for me… Nik Barstch’s Ronin as part of Portland Jazz Fest next weekend.

~Dan – np: EarthAngels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1

Godspeed You! Black Emperor Tourdates

February 2011
16 – Vancouver, British Columbia @ Vogue Theatre
17 – Seattle, Wash. @ Showbox at the Market
18 – Portland, Ore. @ Crystal Ballroom
20 – San Francisco, Calif. @ Great American Music Hall
21 – San Francisco, Calif. @ Great American Music Hall
23 – Los Angeles, Calif @ Music Box at the Henry Fonda

March 2011
16 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Masonic Temple
17 – New York City, N.Y. @ Church of St. Paul the Apostle
19 – Philadelphia, Penn. @ Trocadero
20 Washington, D.C. @ 9:30 Club
22 – Athens, Ga. @ 40 Watt Club
24 – Nashville, Tenn. @ Cannery Ballroom
26 – Chicago, Ill. @ Metro
27 – Chicago, Ill. @ Metro
29 – Detroit, Mich. @ Majestic Theatre

  1. 19th Feb 11 (Sat) at 8:34 am

    I don’t like to be negative generally… last night, maybe it was just me. I hated Pierced Arrows.

    Pierced Arrows 9:00-45
    I can see their draw. Raw, energy, but a bit sloppy/punk for my tastes. Lots of sound for a 3 piece. Swapped vocal duties. By fourth song, I kind of hate it. Dreadful vocals (male & female – equally atrocious), sloppy rhythm, stuttering guitars. Not my thing. Understatement. Painful. That band was so bad, I want to sign up for their mailing list, simply for the satisfaction of unsubscribing later. All that said, I’m sure they’re *someone’s* favorite band. And this may be proof that god hates us.

  2. Guy Incognito
    19th Feb 11 (Sat) at 10:44 am

    You left out the part about the thumping bass of Madonna & Michael Jackson that drowned out the quieter moments of their sonic buildups.

    Godspeed vs The 80s – mashup edition. F*cking Ballroom.

    • 19th Feb 11 (Sat) at 4:28 pm

      Yeah, no doubt. :)

    • jason
      29th Jun 11 (Wed) at 1:39 pm

      oh god the pain, yes I agree, selfish fucking crystal ballroom “weve had godspeed booked for 6 months sold out, great night to have a bass heavy show on the next floor down! greedy fucks.

  3. jason
    19th Feb 11 (Sat) at 11:50 am

    Setlist was:

    Hope Drone
    Dead Metheny
    09-15-00 (outro)
    World Police & Friendly Fire
    Gathering Storm

  4. Russell
    19th Feb 11 (Sat) at 12:58 pm

    (I’m of the same mindset concerning Pierced Arrows – I hate to be so negative, but that was just awful)

    I didn’t notice til today that the rumbling drone that played during soundcheck / intro was from the first minute of The Dead Flag Blues. I hope someone has a good video of that intro, that was incredible.

  5. blahblah
    19th Feb 11 (Sat) at 2:50 pm

    Your picture is of A Silver Mt. Zion.

  6. billypopcorn
    20th Feb 11 (Sun) at 10:19 am

    Pierced Arrows are most of Dead Moon, old and longstanding Portland garage rock. They were still crap, but I think that was just a bad bit of scheduling. Maybe it was a sentimental booking.

    GYBE were incredible. Does anyone have a soundboard? I can’t see one on archive.org yet.

  1. 27th Dec 11 (Tue) at 11:51 am
  2. 6th Feb 12 (Mon) at 6:49 am

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