This review comes with a delay of one entire day, simply because I seriously needed to recollect my thoughts about the event and manage to complete the puzzle which I am about to write down. Judging by this type of intro, you might as well presume that the concert was absolutely spectacular in all aspects imaginable.
As you can see on the poster, the show transpired last Saturday on 10 May 2012. Initially the concert was scheduled to happen in one other venue which had quite a limited number of tickets, which I actually failed to grab for myself. Here I definitely have to give a certain amount of praise to the organizer of the event, called "Resetor booking & promotions", for several reasons. A high number of people were left without a ticket and many others suggested a change of venue, complaints and suggestions to which the organizer reacted rather quick and in a small amount of time, just days before the gig, a new concert place was found and the number of possible attendants drastically expanded. I myself am really pleased with this type of dedication and commitment, especially considering the possible stress they might have faced with changing plans moments before the show. On a side note, the organizer was kind enough to allow me press access to the concert and even managing to arrange for me to do an interview with the band. Sadly, due to some technical difficulty the interview will actually be happening through e-mail, so expect that some time in the future, since the questions have already been sent. All in all, this is an excellent booking collective, one that will find it's place amid the "Friends and Partners" page on this blog. I plan on making a page specifically for bookers and organizations in Serbia, but I'm yet to put that plan into action.
So, as I already wrote in the gig announcement post, the show was held in "SKC NBG" (Student Cultural Center New Belgrade). A fun fact about this venue is that it is actually a part of the complex where the collage which I am attending is located. Despite the fact that I know of the said "venue" (since, in fact, this is not a real venue to begin with), I have never attended the place. As far as I know, numerous student parties were held there, which I masterfully avoided every single time. Truth be told, I had sincere doubts about this gig since I really didn't believe in the technical capabilities of the place, but in the end I couldn't be more wrong. There was room enough to fit a really big stage, a neat place for a merch desk located on top of a wide staircase and the gig space was actually huge enough to support the large number of people without everyone being cramped together and pushing each other. The already mentioned staircase also proved to be a good place for people to stand on and enjoy the entirety of the stage, so overall this proved to be an excellent venue, especially for a post rock concert.
After a small delay and the excitement and anxiety boiling in the crowd, the show started a bit past 10:30 PM, if I remember well. Amid clapping, screaming and cheering, "God Is an Astronaut" climbed the stage and with the sounds of "When Everything Dies" the band paved the way toward a purely perfect performance. As the song rang across the venue, the wall behind the band came to life with video effects for which the Irish quartet is well known for, masterfully setting an appropriate mood and emotion for the audience. Watching some historic moments, like the explosion of the first atomic bomb and the self-immolation of the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, scenes from old movies like "Godzilla" and "Nosferatu", sequences of violence and war and an omnipresent voyage through space with planetary visage, all accompanied by the loud, impacting sounds of the band came out nothing short of entirely artistic and breathtaking. Personally, I was really excited to witness the much talked about video aspect of "God Is An Astronaut" and I must say that they really hit the spot and meld quite well with their music. They make you think and ponder, without actually drifting away and forgetting that you are on a concert. Seeing all that aggression and destruction, flames and death, makes you realize how small and stupid we humans are, that all this torment we throw at each other is nothing more than self-annihilation and that it is absolutely insignificant in the vast cosmos of which we are but a small speckle. To be completely honest, these moments created numerous waves of chill and shivering throughout my body, making this show into something I will never forget. Also accompanying the video was an interesting manipulation of light, which further extended and solidified the atmosphere. The sound was fantastic, the venue being able to fully cooperate with the band and create a clear and strong audio spectacle. Once the opening song was over, it melded into "Fragile", later continuing with "From Dust To The Beyond", "Age of the Fifth Sun", "Echoes" and so on. I was very impressed with how certain songs sounded much more moving and quite faster than on recordings, such as "Zodiac" and "Route 666", leaving an extremely strong impression on me. The band kept building a massive wall of sound, constantly growing with intensity and literally flooding the crowd entirely. Similarly, the audience was quite responsive and alive which really surprised me, so there was nonstop movement, dancing and omnipresent cheering. If you ever thought that you can't really dance to post rock, this gig would be able to prove you wrong. Band members themselves were quite alive on stage, their motions reflecting the music nicely, while the time between songs was used to address the crowd and in the end one picture of the audience was also captured, a really cool tradition of "God Is An Astronaut". Overall, a wonderful atmosphere was created, lasting for thirteen tracks and further extended with an encore featuring "All Is Violent, All Is Bright" and "Fireflies And Empty Skies".
What more to say in the end? This was an absolute pleasure to experience and a true honor to be able to celebrate the ten year existence of such an amazing project in this fashion. It was great to see the band members leaving the stage pleased and hopefully we left them with some nice memories. We were promised another show in the future, so until then I plan to enjoy their recordings under a new light and with more infatuation than before due to the truly big imprint which they left on my mind. Thank you and hope you enjoyed the review!