There are many things my brother & I tend to disagree about- but, along with food, there is one area we never deviate: our mutual hatred for the Boston Celtics.
And while they are one of my favorite bands to listen to on a Sunday afternoon, I was a bit underwhelmed with their live show.
I’m sure there a a lot of factors that played into this: I was/am sick, I couldn’t find anyone to go with me, I had to drive an hour to get there, the bouncers wouldn’t stop shouting, the crowd was filled with douchebags (people were sitting on the floor-I HATE THAT), the venue was a bit too large)- but I’ve dealt with all of those things many, many times before and still enjoyed myself.
OK, I guess it’s not that I didn’t enjoy myself, per se, it was just that something was missing, and that only served to widen my expectation gap.
It took a few days for me to figure out what drove me to the apathetic point of leaving early (admittedly, most of it was that I was sick), but I think I’ve nailed it down- and it is the result of the band lacking in both dynamics and volume, in this particular live setting, at least.
The nature of GY!BE on record is characterized by repetition, crescendo and a bit of drone. These are things I am very familiar with, both live and on record. Mogwai, My Bloody Valentine, Explosions In The Sky, Spiritualized, Sunn O))) and even the opening band Om all have similar qualities, albeit perhaps different overall sounds. The main difference, it seems to me is VOLUME. And I mean sound volume, not amount of musicians (although that does figure into it see: Spiritualized).
For better or for worse, I just don’t think a certain type of band (let’s use the admittedly hokey term Post-Rock, for lack of a better classification) can move me, emotionally or literally, without volume.
This is really no fault of a band like GY!BE that utilizes a variety of non-traditional-rock and roll instrumentation. Violins and string basses can only be amplified to a certain level before vibrating and feeding back uncontrollably- in certain cases shaking the instrument apart. Therefore, the guitars for instance- with a huge range of amplification options available, can be no louder than the quietest instrument, thus decreasing the amount of dynamic range afforded the band. And, when one has experienced the half hour noise interlude of You Made Me Realise or the frightening quiet/loud juxtaposition of Like Herod, one may become a bit, shall we say, jaded. Three Fender Deluxe Reverbs can no longer affect me in the same way six Marshall/Orange/Hiwatt stacks can. And I understand these two different approaches result in vastly different guitar tones, but I never realized the difference until Tuesday night.
So no, I do not expect GY!BE to sound like My Bloody Valentine (however, Kevin Shields DID play acoustic guitar for a fee songs and managed to pull it off), nor to I expect Godspeed to cart huge amplifier stacks across the US and Canada (although again, MBV did, being the exception to so many rules) but in my mind, their peers have set the Bar of Dynamics so incredibly high, few musicians could approach it. There’s also nothing wrong with not trying to- but apparently I just can’t enjoy it that much.