Godspeed You Black Emperor! | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Godspeed You Black Emperor! 

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Godspeed You Black Emperor! may have been enfants terribles when they released their first cassette nearly ten years ago, but I think it's safe to say they're now an institution, with all the good and bad that implies. They forged their own aesthetic and, as soon as it got predictable (which it did pretty quickly), learned how to dance around it gracefully--only to return to it when they thought nobody was looking. They've also established themselves as a sort of hub of the Montreal underground by sending out spokes into many side projects, including Fly Pan Am, Molasses, and Set Fire to Flames; they hone their chops and try out new ideas in these other configurations, then distill that experience into a proper GYBE! release every couple years or so. Last fall's Yanqui U.X.O. (Constellation) is a pretty sparing dose after the double slab of rich chocolate-truffle drone that was its predecessor, Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennae to Heaven! (Kranky/Constellation), yet I wouldn't quite call it stripped-down. GYBE! are all about overgenerosity of tone, a downright decadent form of purple prose rendered into music. The slowed-down Neu!-ish space-rock throb of "Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls" should become the new standard by which we judge all North American neotrance--at least until the next Pelt album comes out. Thursday, March 20, 9 PM, Friday and Saturday, March 21 and 22, 10 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace; 773-478-4408. The first two shows were sold-out at press time.

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