Godspeed You Black Emperor

Hackney Ocean, March 18 2002

I've been looking forward to this one for a while now. A good long while. And it can't come quickly enough as last week has been one of those weeks from hell. So this week is a week off with London the destination.

Hackney Ocean, kind of looks like a fairly plush place, well, plush in comparison to most of the places I've seen gigs at before, but it fits in with Godspeed being just that little bit different anyway.

As I arrive, the support band, Keepler (I think) are on. They're coming from that sparse as a sparse thing in a sparse place kind of stylee. I'm just not knowledgable enough about that kind of stuff to be able to say whether it's good or bad, it's just whether on the night it does something for me or not. Tonight is a mild stirring, nothing too harsh. It's a little too laid back for the most part, they pick things up once, but once gone, I don't really find myself recalling a great deal. Apart from their bemusement when some dry ice decends, "I don't really think we need the dry ice" reckons the frontman. He could well be right.

It's strange to see the members of Godspeed setting up their own gear when they're playing a venue this size, but that's what they do, before finally emerging and, for the most part, taking their seats at their designated positions. The stage looks lopsided, most congregating on the right hand side as you look, behind the "band"? is a screen that will show projections throughout the show. The first of many cigarettes are lit, and things start. And in all honesty, I'm a little underwhelmed. I wanted this to be so fantastically mindblowing. Instead, it's just very good. The music builds and subsides, crescendo and beauty, but it never really takes me off that somewhere else. It also lasts a long time. I'm reckoning on 2 1/4 hours or so when I decide I have to leave to ensure I can get a train back into London, and they've just come back for about the third encore. Standing and watching for such a long time, the neck begins to ache, and an element of restlessness settles in. Guess I'm just not used to this kind of thing. But it's all incredibly well played. There's one passage during which a rapid fire snare drum roll is played, and continues for what seems like 5 minutes or more, never missing a beat. My arms are aching for the drummer, and I'm doing nothing. It's like that, it's not energy and movement music, but it still leaves you drained. It just didn't leave me feeling as high as I'd ultimately hoped for.

Last modified: Tue Apr 9 15:28:54 BST 2002