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Help! Godcaster hypnotized me and I am still in a trance!

As much as I would like to gatekeep this band, everyone should know the wonders and mysticism of Godcaster, a Brooklyn-based psychedelic/art-punk/noise-rock band consisting of members Judson Kolk (vox, guitar), Bruce Ebersole (guitar, bass, vox, keys), David McFaul (vox, organ, guitar), Von Kolk (vox, guitar, keys), Jan Fontana (bass), and Ryan West (drums, percussion).

Throughout their musical career, they’ve played around with their sound and image. Their older stuff consisting of danceable, upbeat, yet sporadic sound compared to this new era that is mythical and spiritual, with a cult and witchy undertones. They look like they would be in a wood, cave, or even tunnel, which makes perfect sense; as for their last show of the summer, they performed in a tunnel in Bushwick with their brother bands, YHWH Nailgun and Chanel Beads. Only Godcaster would be able to perform in a tunnel and make it the show of the year.

I had the privilege of seeing them again at Brooklyn Made and their setlist consisted of songs from their second self-titled album. “We’re a band called Godcaster'' says Judson Kolk as an eruption of sound from each instrument floods the room as they start the set with their electrifying, almost primal, and animalistic song, Diamond’s Shining Face. The song starts with just instrumentals, and as Judson comes in, his voice has this lingering eariness. Godcasters’ songs have incredible build-ups that create this escalation of anxiety within mind and body; it's the same thrilling effect that arises from watching a horror film. You have this feeling that something extreme is coming, and it's slowly building up until it's captured you all while you lose yourself to the music. Judson's performance throughout adds to the effect; he maneuvers his hand in the same way iconic punk rockers would move, such as Iggy Pop, but adds his uniqueness by adding these stomps that bring back that eariness of something coming.


They use an array of instruments, and even though there are six members in this band, each member is valuable in making up Godcaster and they’ve all distinctively distinguished themselves. They all have incredible stage presence and personas and do not conform to one frontman but instead unify each other. If you watch them individually they all perform differently; Jan can be seen thrashing, Bruce can be seen moving with a heavy flow, and Ryan watches over his band like a hawk. Sometimes it feels as if you’re watching animals elegantly, chaotically, and methodically perform through the way they maneuver themselves.

Two songs that are always my favorites to hear live but are also visually captivating to see are Pluto Shoots His Gaze Into the Sun, sung by Von Kolk, and their 10-minute hypnotic song Didactic Flashing Antidote, sung by David McFaul. Godcaster tends to pair them, creating a jarring contrast. For the show I recently attended, they switched and played Didactic before Pluto, making Von Kolk’s performance for Pluto feel so much more different and manifested for me this new admiration for them as performers. By performing Pluto after Didactic, a song that ends dark, loud, and primal, and then Von, entering a delicate stage persona, is captivating to see. How can someone's image change that fast?

Didactic Flashing Antidote starts with the guitars and drums following a repeating sound both instrumentally and vocally. As the song progresses, it feels like you are entering a trance or even falling down a rabbit hole into Wonderland. David distinguishes himself as he sporadically dances with jagged movement from both his arms and legs and, at times, holds himself during vulnerable moments. Three minutes in, David reaches this high point in the song where he quiets it down and then floods the room with music. The song quiets back down but only instruments take over and we sit in this sound for a bit. Eventually, David comes back in with the vocal, starting softer and quieter, increasingly getting louder, creating an explosion of emotions at the end of the imitating the lyrics.

Von’s ethereal performance for Pluto where her voice is at the center completely obliterates the built-up energy from Didactic. She raises one of her hands to her eyes as if protecting her eyes from the lights above or even the imaginative sun. Von goes into the audience and makes eye contact with everyone she walks by. As much as I would love to take out my phone and record this transcending and vulnerable performance, it feels wrong too. This performance should only ever be experienced live. For a performer or performance to make an entire room feel that they should be present through the emotions that the performance emotes is incredibly technical and proves the dedication they have to their craft.

Godcaster is a collective of creatives that perform well beyond their years, making art through all forms of medium, and evident when they’re on stage. Godcaster completely changes the meaning of what a band is. The storytelling of their music is enhanced further in their visual art as it is created by the band themselves. Godcaster are otherworldly; they are artists, creatives, and storytellers. 

Written by Veronica Anaya

Photography by @_croppped_ on Instagram

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