idrinkwine732 and Godspeed You! Black Emperor: A Love Story
I bought tickets to this show when I was in Texas, attending the upset victory of UCLA over Texas, who at the time, I hoped would be my alma mater. I wasn't too
into Godspeed You! Black Emperor or post-rock at the time, but I knew that their reunion was sort of a big deal, so I bought a ticket to their show on February 20th, 2011. Over the next two months, I had purchased Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven! and Slow Riot for a New Zero Kanada and had fallen head over heels for them. I learned that they had sold out their two shows at the famous Great American Music Hall in fifteen minutes each, and had booked another show at the almost as historic Warfield the previous day. I glanced over the idea of buying tickets, and by the time I had decided I wanted to go, they were sold out. Just my luck, three weeks later I checked again and TicketMaster had released some more tickets. I was seeing GY!BE one day earlier than I thought I was.
Zoom to February 19th 2011, I was excited. It was raining all day, but the second that I was getting ready to go, it had stopped. I would usually claim this to be some sign from the metal gods, but I'm skeptical that any hipster post-rock gods exist. I was jovial on my drive into San Francisco.
It took me fucking 45 minutes to find parking. Granted, it's sort of my fault, I was looking for something a little on the cheap side, but I bit the bullet eventually. It was a little bit before 9 o'clock when I got in line. At this point, it was a couple blocks long. I haven't ever seen anything like it. It was as if the hipster signal had been shining from the Warfield's roof.
I was about 10 minutes late for Om, but the 30 minutes or so I saw of them was incredible. They had Robert A Lowe and Jackie Perez Gratz up on stage to give some guest spots, which was a welcomed surprise. Lowe was on their latest album, God is Good, and he delivered some haunting chants. Incredible. Their live set was enthralling, a really cool energy. Al Cisneros has this sort of awkward stage presence, but he makes it work for him. Call me crazy, but he looked a lot more comfortable up there with Om than he did with Sleep a few months earlier. These guys were really a ton of fun.
I guess it's because I'm used to 45 minute change overs between bands, but I was amazed to see Godspeed You! Black Emperor take the stage only twenty minutes after Om had left. I think opening with Hope Drone, an ambient...well...drone, is sort of a bummer, but it gave you a good introduction to what the set would be like. It was focused around atmosphere, and the film loop took center stage. The drone continued, with Sophie playing the occasional note or so, and Efrim messing around with a few chords and notes. Then, it slowed, and the soothing introduction riffs to Gathering Storm started. The introduction was beautiful and extremely appropriate. An hour later, my eyes were locked on the stage by the time the Chart #3 loop started. I'd been waiting for this song and its companion to be played live forever
. There was a lone torch being burned on screen, with Mike and David combining to create the introduction to World Police and Friendly Fire. I was all shaken up at this point, my feet were tired, my back hurt, and I felt like an old man. I hadn't ever been to a show like this.
"I went to court today for a speeding ticket."
BBF3 is a totally overrated song, and I can't stand its sample. With that said, I think it was a fairly appropriate song to close with, because it winds up to this climax (as all post-rock songs do) and descends in a manner that is extremely representative of the genre itself.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't slightly disappointed on my way out of the Warfield. I had a fantastic time, both bands were incredible, but I expected more. I expected some personal connection between the bands, and it never happened. I couldn't shake that I was in a venue with over 2,000 other people, all of them sitting still with a seldom few bobbing their heads around. The stage was enormous, the atmosphere was too, but I expected this to be a show I write home about. Hopefully tomorrow's show at GAMH, a 600 person venue, will be what I was hoping.
Praying these photos won't come out all Godzilla on me.
EDIT: Unanswered prayer.
EDIT2: Forgot Setlist!!!!11one
They Don't Sleep Anymore on the Beach
World Police and Friendly Fire
Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls