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GY!BE at the Joy

It's been a few days since Godspeed You! Black Emperor (GY!BE) graced the stage of the Joy Theater, and I’m still finding it hard to wrap my head around what I experienced. If ever there was an out-of-body experience at a show without drugs, this would be it. The first cool evening of fall greeted the Crescent City with a soundtrack supplied by post-rock masters GY!BE.

Post-rock as a genre demands a unique sensibility and understanding from its audiences and listeners. Whereas a standard pop rock song will get you from point A to B in minutes, a post-rock track, if done well, will take you on a considerable longer musical journey -- from points A to Z and back.  A typical show usually consists of few tracks at most. GY!BE’s set on this occasion had a few more songs and was a bit shorter than its Tipitina's show back in October 2012.

At the Joy, the audience buzz began as soon as the band started to set up.  I can say without a doubt that I've never seen that many floor pedals for one band. Ever.  Even the violinist had half a dozen or so of them.  

The set never felt long and was mostly comprised of this year’s release, Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress. The crowd thrived on every note played and enjoyed every minute of the ride. The music seemed to resonate with every soul in the room, and concluded backward from the way it started, as one by one the band members left the stage.  I was in a complex haze of uncharted emotions by the end of it all, which is why I love this genre so.  

No words were ever spoken on stage, but throughout the night the word “Hope” was projected behind the band via 8mm film. The images displayed complemented every moment enacted on stage, then culminated in complete disintegration as the projectionist deliberately melted random film strips, causing an amazing bubbling effect. You can see more images from the show here: http://jalbum.net/a/1656766

Steven Hatley is a New Orleans-based photographer. You can find more of his photography here.