Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Tuesday, 6 October 1998
with godspeed you black emperor!
Alright, here's a *quick* review of the Low show here in Tallahassee last night.
We tried to get Alan and Mimi to come up to the radio station prior to the show but they were running behind and understandably a bit tired. As it would have been during my shift, I was a little disappointed it didn't work out, but I was somewhat relieved too 'cause it was so spur of the moment I won't have been completely unprepared! Kinda like that classic Saturday Night Live piece with Chris Farley : "You you you know that one song 'Shame' where where you sing 'sssshame.' Yeah, that's pretty cool..."
Anyway, I arrived shortly after my shift ended in time to see about a third of Godspeed You Black Emperor's set. The stage at the venue is usually plenty big but you try cramming 9 people up there + their equipment and you run out of room fast - as a result, one of the guitarists sat in a chair on the floor. There were no individual "songs" per se, just one long powerful set. On the multi-media tip, a film of buildings shot from a moving train played overhead.
Where there is usually an element of *hope* in Low's music, GYBE play sorta "bleak" music...Slo-core meets Goth maybe? But it was powerful stuff...9 people (incl. 2 bass players, 2 guitarists, cello, bass violin (I think), and 2 drummers) can make quite a noise! I'd liken it to holding your head out the window at high speeds but instead of wind blowing thru yr hair, its music. : ) (Now THERE'S an image!) Really, you have to experience it to believe it. Highly recommended! I can understand how others could come away even more satisfied with GYBE than Low.
Overall, Low played a decent set. I was thrilled with the new songs they played and am looking forward to the new album (I overheard Alan after the show saying "probably in the spring.") Unfort. I forgot the set list at home today but here's what I remember (The "*" demarks what I believe to be new songs that I don't know the titles of):
Among the new songs, one was "about a friend who drives an ambulance and runs a radio station in his basement" and another fairly uptempo one (for Low) which I thought was really excellent. Plus, the Spacemen 3 tune was a real treat as well!
As in the past here, the crowd was INCREDIBLY quiet and unusually polite...I saw people leaving, trying not to let the door slam behind them and walking the long way around the crowd so as to not block anyone's view! This, I decided, was both good and bad however as I'll explain: The good part was that I got to sit down at a table a near perfect distance from the speaker monitors. I just set the recorder on the table, and left it undisturbed the whole show...so no rustling around, etc...Except for the quiet whirring of the tape motor, you can hear nearly every nuiance.
The bad part is that the crowd was SO reserved, there was no encore...Damn I was ticked about this! Doesn't Low usually do encores? It seems that they have a habit of only playing 45min to 1 hr sets when they come here. I was watching them conversing, trying to figure out their next song and then...poof! Alan says "I think we're done." And the overly genial audience just rolled over like lemmings ...no press for a return, everyone seemed either satisfied or bored, I'm not sure which. Granted Mimi, didn't really seem into it tonight (altho' Alan seemed ready to play) and they looked a bit worn out so maybe it wasn't the crowd. (any thoughts or comments on this?)
In short, I've seen 'em play better in the past, but it was a thrill to hear the new tunes, which we weren't treated to in the spring when they came thru.
Finally, as I said above, the tape came out pretty well. Admittedly, the Florida State U "Club Downunder" is no accoustic mecca (or abandoned church for that matter) and they had the bass a bit too high in the mix early on (Alan even joked about this at one point saying "Everything is bass nowadays")...But damn, with barely a peep from the crowd, you can hear even the quietest guitar strummings! I don't know how other folks' live stuff has turned out in othe cities, but I'm very happy with the quality on this one. If only they'd done a freekin' encore!
Hey if ya wanna trade, e-mail me in private and we'll talk it over.