They were a mystery. Something beyond my comprehension. Mysterious album covers. 14 word song titles. Songs that lasted 20 minutes. No interviews. Political statements. Anti everything. Something to behold. Well over a decade ago I fell under the spell of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Their music was monumental. Transcendental. Epic. No, epic is an understatement. There was no one like them No one since. No one ever. I never thought I would ever see them live. Especially as they went on hiatus. But it happened. Fast forward to February 2013 and I was there. To see them. It was bliss.
For two hours they played. Five minutes of drone shook the auditorium before they came on stage. Slowly the lights dimmed and one by one they entered and they launched into "Hope Drone" with the word Hope splashed scratchily behind them. It just built the expectation. An expectation of greatness. Greatness came. In huge amounts. Basically I will just use adjectives from here on that mean something bigger than big. Huger than huge. More epic than epic. Superlatives become superfluous. Especially when "Mladic" swallows us whole. Twenty minutes of thunderous, cataclysmic music with images cascading behind us. Then "Moya" came. A classic and swallowed like honey. It features the superb violin of Sophie Trudeau. It's a song that basically breaks hearts. Then we received the monumental (there's that word again) "Monheim". The band play with amazing intensity. Delivering epic greatness through out the night. They closed with the appropriately named "Behemoth", a song yet to be recorded but now a live staple. It's 45 minutes long and features a ten minute drone mid section before building to an epic (again) conclusion. This band lived up to expectations without doubt. They combined for sheer greatness. Two drummers, five guitarists plus the violin. A double bass here and there. All played with astounding artistry. No words can really do this night justice. Suffice to say I will never forget this night.
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World Police and Friendly Fire