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Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Triumphant Return

By Jake Guidry in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 28, 2011 5:30PM

2011_03_28_gybe.jpg When it comes to the world of post-rock, there are perhaps no bands more revered than Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Formed in the early '90s in Montreal, GY!BE have had a slew of members, an eight year hiatus, and a general lack of visibility within the music scene. However, this has not caused their dark, brooding rock melancholia to go forgotten or less appreciated. After reforming for what is their first tour since 2002, GY!BE managed to sell out three shows in Chicago, two of which were this weekend at Metro (the third is tonight at The Vic). Their show last night, packed to the gills, not only reminded us why GY!BE are so loved amongst its fans, but that they put on a highly impressive performance.

As expected, GY!BE kept their mouths shut for their mammoth 2+ hour set. Instead they spoke through live projected visuals and their symphonic rock from all points of their rich discography. For the most part, last night's show had as many similarities to a classical orchestra performance as it did a rock show at Metro. It's symphony through an indie rock lens. GY!BE's penchant for slow builds and huge crescendos have always drawn this critical assessment, but it's not until seeing it performed live does the line truly become blurred between art rock and unabashed jamming. And although the nagging fear of seeing any post-rock show might be boredom, GY!BE performed beautifully and commanded the crowd's undivided attention by blurring this line. That, in addition to stunning live projection work that captured the patented Godspeed aesthetic, made for a brilliant show.

Whether this tour means something for the future of Godspeed! You Black Emperor remains to be seen. We're willing to bet that they'll recede again, go about their business, all while their music and performances live on with their devoted fan base. Their third and final Chicago show tonight at The Vic will surely be a treat.