(Photo credit: Yannick Grandmont)
Musicianship over showmanship has always been the mantra for post-rock legends Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and their Halloween night show at East London’s Troxy was a declaration of this. Never directly addressing the audience, Godspeed faced inwards towards each other to produce another reminder of their status as one of the greatest bands around right now.
For context, I have previously seen Godspeed live twice, so I had a good idea of the type of set they would put on. One thing that I didn’t think would be a important aspect of the night would be how loud the band were. While they’ve always be a high volume live act, this set seemingly cranked up the dial even further.
This power was never more evident than on standout track of the evening, ‘Mladic’. The slow buildup of the track added a sense of grandeur to the middle chunk of the track – a heavy, cathartic thrash of instruments that captured Godspeed at their closest to metal. By the end of ‘Mladic’, many of the crowd blew a breath of euphoria and exhaustion. The sheer scale of the track was astonishing.
The night acted as a showcase for the newest album Luciferian Towers, with the entirety of the album being played between ‘Mladic’ and ‘BBF3’, of the 1999 EP Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada. ‘Bosses Hang’ was a highlight of the new material, which made use of sharp violin interjects and hurrying guitar lines over a backdrop of scrolling stock numbers and a desolate city skyline in a feverish display. Tinges of psychedelia washed over the repeating, continuously accelerating instrumental, transforming the set into a hypnotising show of force.