Godspeed You! Black Emperor @ The Church of St. Paul the Apostle 3.17 & 3.18

Godspeed! (Photo by Greg Cristman)

St. Patrick's Day, a day where many a tri-state alcohol enthusiasts venture into New York City and compete to see who can kill the most brain cells in 24 hours, I did what any person of principle would do: go to church...to see Godspeed You! Black Emperor with Moz. The next day, also the final show of GYBE's five-night stint in NYC, we did it again with Snail in the mix. This is where I make a pun about the us being like the holy trinity to keep that church/religious theme going BUT I WILL NOT.

From the line outside to get in to GYBE's setlists, the two dates couldn't have been more different. While on day 1 the single line on the right side of main entrance was composed of civil, convincingly educated people, day 2 brought the Great Battle of the Queues 2011. A few people confused about where to stand became a rogue group led by me engaging in psychological warfare with a mission to fight to the death for the first few pews. All this was according to the nervous paranoiacs on the left line who even sent in informants to figure us out. In the end, everyone got what they wanted, a decent view of the band, despite some of us being more barbaric than others about the whole deal.

Thursday's opener Kurt Walker of alt-country band Lambchop opened with his buttery voice and entrancing fluttering strum. The combination of this with a dim church, a sweet recipe for a nice naptime. Friday's opener Samara Lubelsky sang what sounded like a 45 minute long strum mumbling stuff about tea and bodies of water of all kinds. A snoozefest in the worst way, Snail and I were so bored we resorted to becoming giggly girls making fun of her pa-pa-pa-ra-pa-pa. She made us giggle in church! no good.

Godspeed, however, so good. This dark church with its stained glass windows, idols bathed in shadow, and its high-as-the-heavens cathedral ceiling made a great house for GYBE's post-apocalyptic rock. While the first night was more drawn out and droney, night two was more straight up concise rocking. Both nights, encased in the glorious near-deafening sound of hope in a world destroyed, we sat in quiet, squealing inside (and tearing outside) during favorites like "Moya" and St. Paddy's Day closer, what I know as "East Hastings" and is credited as "Sad Mafioso" in the setlist.

Everyone was in awe of this cohesive unit, eight people recreating some of the most beautiful and painful music in this place. Eyelids officially shocked, band crush commences (especially on kind-eyed Mauro and Dave) and so it goes. One thing did suck for me in particular: Not having Norsola Johnson playing cello in the band anymore. I miss her terribly, womp womp!

I honestly have no words for this experience hence the terrible recount, you had to be there. You can kind of do that by downloading the sets at nyctaper.

The picture above is actually from one of the Brooklyn Masonic Temple shows by Greg Cristman via Brooklyn Vegan. You can see pics from the March 18th show at Prefix.


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