There’s no introductory preamble necessary for this clip from Maryland Deathfest: The Movie III. You all know that Maryland Deathfest is an obligatory pilgrimage for any self-respecting blastbeat-worshipping Decibangers. And Godflesh are, well Godflesh: The marriage of riff to machine, the sound of urban alienation, of a dead city collapsing in on itself, et cetera.
But here’s one anyway from director David Hall to set the scene:
“As the last band of MDF IX exited the stage, I started to hear the rumors. It was Sunday night at MDF IX, and Ghost (back then they didn’t carry the BC) had just finished entertaining a packed house with their first North American gig. And amidst the swishing robes of the unnamed ghouls came the whispers “Godflesh.” That’s how rabid MDF attendees are: after four days of 50 plus bands crammed up their cake holes they wanna know what’s in store for next year. You invariably hear personal wish-lists of bands to see and MDF faves, and “wouldn’t-it-be-amazing-ifs” but the name I kept hearing from reliable sources was “Godflesh.”
(I think it’s a testament to how much Ryan and Evan lock shit right the fuck down: they know who’s playing a good year in advance.)
Fast forward twelve months. MDF X. I’m standing in the Sonar again downing Maker’s Mark with Steve Austin in a hot-as-fuck Baltimore. I remember walking outside about half-an-hour before Godflesh were about to start and being shocked at how packed the crowd was. The bodies stretched from the front of the stage almost all the way back to the other stage across compound. It was a mass of sweaty, black shirted bodies. I did a quick check of the crew and then carved myself a spot to bear witness.
I don’t remember every song Godflesh played and I can’t remember how long they played for, but from the moment they started to the last squelched-out note of the set, I, and roughly 3000 other people, got lost inside the raw beauty, emotional sting and overall gravitas of Justin Broadrick’s music and words. Godflesh’s set was easily one of my favorite performances of the festival.
Huge props to the film and audio crew – I think they captured the moment perfectly.
*fun fact: if you watch closely you’ll see Steve Austin at the front of the stage losing his shit to the music accordingly.”
Godflesh “Streetcleaner” – live at MDF X, from Maryland Deathfest: The Movie III
**Maryland Deathfest: The Movie III can be ordered here for a miserly $13.00. Order before June 1st and receive a download link to the audio soundtrack and free shipping.**