Explosions In The Sky: Four Thumbs Up

Frequent HT and Slack LaLane commenter Nodnoc weighs in: 

“If Sigur Ros was a rock band out of Austin, Texas, they’d be Explosions in the Sky. Wow. I’m still picking my face up off the floor. A truly remarkable show. Only at two points did the crowd actually get going, once at about five minutes into the show and once at the final peak — the rest of the time the crowd stood still in respectful amazement jaws firmly affixed to the floor. Hardly even a clap. Instead of feebly trying to take fuzzy camera phone shots of the band last night, I wanted to take a picture of my face as it melted.

I didn’t know a single song, but I didn’t need to. After a beautiful build, each song climaxed with the three string players literally throwing their instruments up in the air simultaneously and strumming their guitars as hard as they possibly could. One of the most athletic and exhausting bands out there. Powerful stuff. There must be a picture of this somewhere. The drummer looked like he needed some help walking offstage after the set, which played a little more than one hour with no encore. I don’t blame him: Four-minute climaxes can really take a lot out of you. Just ask Ron Jeremy.” –Nodnoc


Close friend and frequent HT/Slack LaLane commenter Hal Hansen’s thoughts:

“Made the infrequent, mid-week drive into the city last night for Explosions in the Sky at Webster Hall. They are an all-instrumental band out of Austin, TX and apparently are well-liked by every emo dude in New York City. I don’t think I’ve ever seen more people with knotty, shaggy hair, tattered scarves, tight dark jeans and thick-rimmed glasses than last night. Holy crap. But all of that aside, the show was pretty good. 

They played for about 75-80 minutes, which I think is about the max of time I think I can take from them. The music is interesting — very anthematic, building up to massive tri-guitar harmonious crescendos only to be be broken down to a tiny single strum of the guitar in split seconds. My only problem is that it is just a bit too repetitive. You can only hear the same structure of ‘start with beautiful melody > build to raging climax > back to initial melody’ so many times before you think you’re hearing the same song over and over again, especially when there are no words to help differentiate the songs from one another.

The other thought I had is that these guys need to seek out the coolest venues in every city for their shows. Places where the acoustics are pristine and single guitar note echoes throughout the room. GA standing in a cookie cutter floor/balcony club like Webster Hall (and I love the venue) is not their ideal setting. Give me seats, flawless acoustics and a beautiful room, and I’ll go see these guys every time.

Definitely a good night of music…despite the horrendous opening acts. FYI, if you ever see The Paper Chase playing with a band you like, definitely stay at the bar around the corner for a few more drinks, or bring cement to plug in your ears. Good lord.” –Hal Hansen

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  1. Nice updates…I really really love this band and was hoping to catch them at the Middle East in Cambridge, but it sold out way faster than I expected. I’ll have to catch them next time. Both their new album and “The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place” are must-listens, in my opinion.

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