Words by Matt Hill, Intro and Photos by Jamie Giberti.
Our first in-depth band review from the wonderful and unique Beyond the Redshift festival features one of post-metal / noise most revered figures and one of his many bands. Matt recaps how it occurred.
At a festival with a roster dripping in ambiance, post-rock and chords that make stoners grin even further it’s really little surprise that there is a warm and eager anticipation for JESU, the band that basically rose from the ashes of GODFLESH, who themselves are without doubt one of the finest and most applicable inspirations for most of the people and artists performing today.
Long-time veteran of the industrial / post-plenty-of-styles Justin K. Broadrick is his usual humble self as the band contend with some unfortunate issues during their sound-check. Owning to the stripped back approach of their performances, it’s only really that the house lights are still on reminding the baying masses that they haven’t actually started…
When they do, however, the sweeping drudge and emotive crescendos swirl in front of stark, almost apocalyptic, imagery in the vein of NEUROSIS, ISIS and RED SPAROWES… only with the crushing skeleton of GODFLESH underpinning the direction of it all. Heads nod to follow the pulsating rhythm and eyes close as the immersion washes over the crowd. At one point, I watch the penny drop for a security guard who turns to the stage in appreciation and enjoyment forgetting his purpose as people meander around him to take photos from the front of the stage.
It should be noted that I have not followed JESU as actively as I did for their first 2 albums and this evening the majority of the music comes from the EPs that followed. I am not even 100% of the setlist, so I’ve opted to omit rather than include incorrectly. Personally, I’d have loved to have heard some of the misery-dripped beauty from the self-titled release, such as ‘Tired of Me’ or ‘We All Falter’, but it’s not to be. I have put it on record that it’s the melancholic darkness that keeps me indulged in such music, and whilst the more inspirational and up-beat direction is probably a certainty eventuality (as it has been for PELICAN) is does lead to a feeling that either I’m just too moody or everyone else is growing too old to remain bitter and miserable.
The set itself is short, considering the average length of their songs, but this is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, dampened only by the fact I am without beer and too immersed to adjust that situation.
Sound issues, and set-list gripes, aside, the reception Justin and indeed JESU receive is that of appreciation and respect. Whilst it’s not the best time I’ve seen them, as always, I’m glad I have.