Wednesday, March 26, 2008

CONCERT: Explosions in our sky

I'm sitting down right now to try and write a review of what I witnessed Monday night in Salt Lake. And to be completely honest, I'm having a pretty hard time with it. Most simply, I saw four Texans who call themselves Explosions in the Sky perform at In the Venue. For those of you who might be unfamiliar, Explosions in the Sky is a band that writes beautiful, sweeping instrumental post-rock music - who have also been able to carve out a following outside that particular niche - in large part due to their cinematic and enthusiastic live performances. And for good reason.

The show opened with Lichens (Robert Lowe), who essentially performed a audial-trance on-stage by layering several different sounds - from birds chirping, to guitar effects, to tribal-like calls - to create a sort of constant drone that he used to spin a dream-like web of sound. All the while he was swaying too and fro, eyes closed, head bobbing. It was all very progressive, and possibly a little too much so for me, I'm afraid. We all did note, however, that his hair was amazing, and should receive only the highest acclaim.

Not long after Lichens got off stage, the guys who make up Explosions got on and this is where I'm having trouble finding words. They introduced themselves, thanked us for coming, expressed how excited they were to play in Salt Lake City for the first time in seven years - and then they didn't say another word for the entire hour+ set.

The majority of songs consisted of simply three guitars and drums, though there was some bass guitar on more than a few songs. Right from the start of the set they were powerful, letting the music ebb and flow, wax and wane - at one point rolling dreamily out into space, the next blowing it all to smithereens. Logan turned to me and said "It's like watching a star being born". And it really kinda was. The whole time I kept feeling like this couldn't be compared to anything earthly - it all had this sweeping, heavenly breadth to it. Corny as it may sound, I kept picturing swirling galaxies in my head, black-holes and super-novas, all careening off into infinity. Even at their most tempered, their sound is vast - like a huge, starry Texan sky.

After they finished they thanked us again, and then promptly got down. They explained briefly afterward that they didn't do encores - that they designed the set to stand on its own, and that it lost its power when it was extended. That must be true, because it was pretty powerful.

from the album The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place (Amazon/iTunes)

Explosions in the Sky - Day One
from The Rescue EP (get the whole EP for free on their website!)

And here are some pictures.

Lichens, making mood.


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