Thursday, April 17, 2014

Live Review: Godflesh at Metro, Chicago 2014

Godflesh | Cut Hands

Metro - Chicago, IL
April 15th, 2014

 I've heard people sarcastically say "sitting through a tax audit would be more fun." Tonight, on tax day, Godflesh would put that statement to the challenge.

I had cautious reservations about this show ever since the tour was announced, and then postponed due to visa issues. The date was rescheduled, and each time I listened to Godflesh in the weeks leading up to the show -- I was barely able to get through one song.

Everything sounded dated. Repetitive. Boring.

But I was optimistic it would translate a little better in the live setting.

We walked into Metro just as Cut Hands was finishing up his set. Cut Hands apparently was a trailblazer in the electronic world, and I'm sure his music sounded groundbreaking...thirty years ago, but it was borderline sleep-inducing tonight. I'm no fan of modern-day EDM acts, but having seen those artists at various fests, I can at least understand the reasons behind their popularity. The music has an edge, doesn't require you to even know the guy behind the MacBook, and incites excitement in the crowd. Cut Hands, in comparison, drones on and is reminiscent of bad techno played by a bad DJ in some half empty club on a Tuesday night.

The crowd stood nearly motionless, seemingly attempting to "get it" and justify the crappy music.

A quick set change that included switching out one MacBook Pro for another, and Godflesh took the stage.

Before they took the stage, this image appeared on the screen:

The lone highlight of Godflesh 2014

This cool visual turned out to be the lone bright spot of the evening. The "band" took the stage, Justin Broadrick spent time on his laptop queuing up the drums and other random canned instruments. Or maybe he was updating his facebook status. I'm not sure. 

The band launched into the set, and after 10-15 seconds of adulation from the crowd,  the crowd settled back into their motionless stance. Sure, the beginning of each song would be met by a smattering of applause, but this crowd was mostly lifeless. And the crowd was mostly what you'd expect to see at a Godflesh show in 2014: Old, grizzled guys pining for the early 90s industrial metal days, and still dressing as though they were living in the early 90s. Hardly any women, and a few curious kids. I think two of them attempted to start a pit, but it didn't go over well with this crowd.

The band was mostly indifferent. The bloated bassist couldn't have possibly cared less, and was likely thinking about his next meal. He never interacted with Broadrick or the fans. Broadrick, when not on his laptop, seemed passionate enough -- but it's just not interesting music anymore. 

It sounded like someone took the stems from a marginal Ministry song, uploaded them to YouTube, and that's what Broadrick was playing. I had hoped that the visuals would save the day, but they were mostly a loop of five or six minutes of abstract, uninteresting video. The crowd became sparse, and even those in vintage Godflesh shirts looked bored. 

There was a minor traffic jam on the stairs leading to the exit, and most overheard conversations were about how underwhelming Godflesh is in 2014.


  1. Yep. This show was the pits. Crowd was DOA and band was bored out of their minds. So sad since the time I saw them with Skinny Puppy just totally slayed!

  2. eh the show wasnt that bad but holy shit it was nothing like the old days. ive never left a godflesh show to get beers, take a piss or whatever and did it few times here. they should have just stayed retired.

  3. Nice.

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