God Is An Astronaut

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author MN date 12/05/14 venue Beta, Copenhagen, DEN

It may come to some surprise that I choose to sign up for Irish post-rock outfit God Is An Astronaut. Yet, in my humble experience of seeing post-rock bands live, I have found a distinct enjoyment of these types of shows, especially on days like this mundane Monday, where I find myself, once more, venturing out to Beta's intimate concert hall. The weather is typically Danish and therefore schizophrenic, giving us hints of sunshine, only to hurdle us into yet another sideways shower. Yet, somehow this type of half-assed spring weather is the perfect mood setter for the reflective, spacey and rather larger than life sound that God Is An Astronaut has to offer. What better way is there to detox from a hefty weekend than a cathartic post-rock show.

God Is An Astronaut

My previous experiences is that post-rock bands have the best calibrated sound as their full artistic expression is channeled through their instruments, thereby making up for the lack of vocals and banter often found at other shows. Having upgraded from a trio at their release of the record ”Origins”, GIAA are taking things to another level in terms of the volume and texture of their live shows. Expectations are therefore relatively high come showtime and at exactly 21:30, GIAA walk on stage with Swiss precision.

Being known as a band that likes to engage the audience into a holistic audio/visual experience, GIAA have decided to go easy on the visual elements as it is BETA's standard visual lights that illuminate the stage. This proves to be of little concern as GIAA proceed to play ”Transmissions” off their latest release to the delight of the crowd. The sound is loud and crispy clean, one of the better ones I have experienced, perhaps since the brilliant concert by Alcest. ”All Is Violent, All Is Bright” retires some of the robotic/spacey elements of the latest ”Origins” record in favour of a more organic approach. The song is played with drive and the climatic resolution lifts the bar even higher. GIAA decide to drop the bomb during the fourth track in form of crowd-pleaser ”Echoes” that, with its contagious alternate picking by guitar duo Torsten Kinsella and Jamie Dean, provides one of the night's definitive highlights.

"Spiral Code" follows with plenty of industrial elements and makes for one of the more technically baffling displays by the four-piece. "A Deafening Distance" brings the tempo down and for the first time in the show is where I detect a hint of carnal boredom as some of their songs are very slow to develop and often utilize an increase in intensity and emotion that manifests itself in a climax where all elements come together. There are however times when this fails to happen and the song falls short. This boredom is however quickly retired and my fascination is rejuvenated at the onset of the beautiful "Fragile" and the initial set closer "Fireflies & Empty Skies", a brilliantly composed song that allows things to get extra heavy towards the end.

The humble Irishmen eventually walk on stage for the encore to grand applause of an audience who clearly have enjoyed the show. GIAA start to play the astronomic blaster "Red Moon Lagoon", followed by "Suicide By Star" that should be merited as one of the extreme high points of the evening as the band starts the song of in a slow, haunting manner but eventually drummer Stephen Whelan adds a pummeling double pedal to the night, just to add some devil horns to the mix. "Route 666" seals the night in an epic climax and the night is hereby over. Conclusively, I came with little prior knowledge to GIAA, but walked away feeling like the band did all in their power to showcase everything about their artistic expression. A gig that tallied up to 19 tracks and at a length of an hour and 45 minutes is impressive. The sound was seamless and the banter honest and direct. Truly, a brilliant concert.

Setlist:

  • 1. Intro
  • 2. Transmissions
  • 3. All Is Violent, All Is Bright
  • 4. Reverse World
  • 5. Echoes
  • 6. Spiral Code
  • 7. A Deafening Distance
  • 8. The End Of The Beginning
  • 9. Fragile
  • 10. Calistoga
  • 11. Forever Lost
  • 12. Worlds In Collision
  • 13. The Last March
  • 14. From Dust To The Beyond
  • 15. Fireflies And Empty Skies

Encore

  • 16. Red Moon Lagoon
  • 17. Suicide By Star
  • 18. Route 666

Photos by: Nikola Majkic

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