Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Sunday, March 16; Mississippi Nights

In these days of target marketing, demographics and the corporatization of the universe (they sell star names, for chrissakes), it's a real challenge to find a haven from the Man. The Godspeed You! Black Emperor show might be a good place to start. Not only is the band fiercely anticorporate, its most recent album jacket displays some of the group's unique antiwar positions, one of which links the top four record companies to the "military industrial complex." But enough about the band's politics. On to their punctuation.

Yes, the exclamation point has migrated closer to the beginning of the band's name. Maybe the move signifies the group's move back to Constellation, the label that originally released F#A#infinity. Maybe it doesn't. Who knows? In any case, the ten band members are touring to support their most stirring album to date, Yanqui U.X.O. For a wordless record, the pounding drums, forlorn strings and raging guitars speak volumes as they build to a frantic crescendo or fall into a macabre funeral march. And right before you never want to wake up again, a kind of peace takes over. Whew! Dry your tears, and take a deep breath.

The live show promises to be just as intense, with the musicians accompanied by films that flicker in the dim lighting. Remember, you're there for the music, not to gawk at the band members. Let the emotions come, because they will. And don't go to a chain store to buy the record, whatever you do.

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