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

19th Feb 11 (Sat) 13 comments

GYBE-evaphoto

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

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