Godspeed You! Black Emperor at Manchester Academy

Johnny James, Managing Editor
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Yannick Grandmont

Godspeed You! Black Emperor at Manchester Academy, Manchester 23 September 2022 Tickets from £30.25 — Book now

Symphonic punk outfit Godspeed You! Black Emperor have released one of the best albums of their 27-year career, and they’re bringing it to Manchester Academy this September.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor are a nine-piece from Montréal, and really, that’s pretty much all we know about them. Few rock bands have been as steadfast in trying to let their music speak for itself; they don’t have a website or social media, they don’t do photos or give interviews, they’ve never even released a music video. While this has, over the last quarter of a century, shrouded the band in a cult-like mystique, this wasn’t necessarily their intent. Fiercely political, Godspeed are unflinching in their critique of a grim consumer society in terminal decline, and they refuse to participate “in cultures of personality, exposure, access, commodification or co-optation.”

Their music is full of the heretical anarcho-punk spirit that the above implies. 1997-2002 saw the band release a string of albums that redefined what protest music could be, with longform instrumental chamber rock serving as soundtracks to late capitalist alienation and resistance. These records – especially F#A#∞ (1997) and Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven (2000) – are regarded as classics of the era and genre. Awash with politically potent samples – from explicitly anti-government monologues to the sound of police radio chatter during protests – this is, on the one hand, political art.

On the other it’s a simple testament to the raw power of music. Above all else, Godspeed make achingly beautiful records, which flit between elegy and aggression with a widescreen grandeur. And their latest album, G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END, is up there with the band’s best in that regard. Inexorable chug blossoms into blown-out twang as some of Godspeed’s most soaring, searing melodies ricochet and converge amidst violin and bassline counterpoint. One standout is ‘Ashes to Sea or Nearer to Thee’, which is arguably the most radiant, galvanising, dare I say it… hopeful… piece of music in all of Godspeed’s catalogue, rising gradually from a brooding murmur towards a love-will-conquer-all climax.

Experiencing the visceral force of Godspeed You! Black Emperor live is quite something. They bathe their audiences in mesmerising, multi-layered symphonic waves, inducing ecstasy, terror and everything in between. While the band might serve up some tough messages, in the end, their hypnotic, sensuous music strikes the heart first and the head second – and of course it will always be at its most devastatingly powerful in a live setting. Bag yourself a ticket for their Manchester show via the button below.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor at Manchester Academy, Manchester 23 September 2022

Book Now

What's on at Manchester Academy

What's on: Music

DJ Gym at Hatch

Learn some DJ and production skills with DJ Gym Manchester, based in the culturally infused surrounds of Hatch.

from £269
RNCM Summer Season 2023

Read our highlights from the RNCM Summer Season, from 50th anniversary celebrations to partnership events with MIF23 and Opera North.

Roger Waters at AO Arena

Pink Floyd legend Roger Waters brings his This Is Not A Drill tour to Manchester’s AO Arena, performing both solo and Pink Floyd material.

from £98.50
Darkside at New Century

Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington AKA Darkside bring their dreamy mélange of psychedelia, art rock and electronica to New Century.

from £31.42

Culture Guides


There's no rest for the art lover - this month brings outdoor sculpture, musings on water, political drawings and Liverpool Biennial 2023!


We look towards a summer filled with quality festivals, from cultural behemoths to grassroots gems.

Winnie the Pooh at Manchester Opera House

The sun has finally got his hat on! Enjoy our top picks of family-friendly events and activities, both indoors and outdoors.

Classical Music

Summer's classical music calendar is filling up nicely! Read our top picks of concerts happening in Manchester and the North.

Gerry Potter (credit Lee Baxter)

Books are big this summer, with festival readings, poetry slams, creative writing activities and famous faces all putting in an appearance.

Food and Drink

All signs point toward June being a scorcher of a month, so let’s take a look at all things summery food and drink.

Tours and Activities

From literary activities to brilliant independent shops, keep your minds and homes filled with the good stuff this month.

Theatre in Manchester

Check out our updated guide for lively theatre festivals, rip-roaring rooftop circus and dreamy outdoor shows.