Godspeed you black emperor! are the most unlikely rock stars. Despite the fact that they play dynamic slabs of instrumental music that regularly run over the 20-minute mark, the nine-piece Montreal ensemble have still managed to become improbably popular, selling out theatres in Europe, finding themselves regularly linked with Radiohead - they've never met - and getting a capacity Bloor Cinema crowd to remain absolutely silent for their entire set.
Thursday's rare Toronto gig demonstrated why. They have just one trick in their arsenal, but they do that trick very, very well.
Huddled in virtual darkness on the Bloor's stage, lit only by the glow of exit signs and the flicker of background films, godspeed stormed through two hours of evocative, intense mood music with stunning precision.
Months spent touring have turned the group into an impossibly tight unit and only increased the impact of their seemingly casual strumming.
The pattern was similar all night. While biblical quotations, disturbing drawings and ragged film loops were projected around the band, strings and guitars wove around each other, slowly building up into an apocalyptic crescendo. The drama and tension were immense, in part because the band seemed to be playing to the images behind them, but also because there was so much going on within the droning epics.
Close your eyes and the impact was even more dynamic, while the volume and remarkable sound quality meant folks were unlikely to nod off. It's hard to imagine this show at any other venue in the city.
A return couldn't come soon enough, but they'll have a hard time topping this.
GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR!, at the Bloor Cinema, October 5. Tickets: $12. Attendance: 850. Rating: NNNN