Explosions In The Sky’s sold out set at Boston’s House of Blues proved that you don’t need to use words to tell a story. Over the course of an hour and a half, the group flowed through their multifaceted minimalist compositions and wove them into a singular narrative. Their dualistic sound managed to be both sad and aggressive while simultaneously gentle and triumphant.
The all-instrumental quartet was joined by a fifth player to fill their sound out in the live setting and they’ve got as full a sound as it gets. The sonic quality of EITS is layered so heavily that even for trained ears it can be difficult to decipher which guitarist is playing what part and where one channel ends and the other starts. Loop stations, samplers and delay pedals littered the stage, which made honing in on who was playing what like kind of Where’s Waldo for audiophiles.
From the start of the set, the stage presence was powerful, but as their sound bleeds together, so too does their individual identity as performers. The music is so lush and expansive, the group’s rhythmic swaying along to the music had the unique effect of seeing each member more like a singular appendage, independently contributing to the collective performing body.
While their latest release, 2016’s The Wilderness, contributed more songs to the setlist than any other single album, saying the set focused on their new record would be selling the scope of the performance short. They started the show off with the self-titled track off this past April’s release, but moving forward, the entire set flowed like one long song. When viewed as a singular movement, the set was more akin to a classical Indian raga than anything you hear in western music. Rather than having an A part or B part to shuffle between, EITS’ flow was a gradual build to climax that abruptly ends when the intensity level has no place left to go.
“The Only Moment We Were Alone,” is the perfect song in their catalogue to bring their set to a climactic end. EITS has never been a band to perform encores because when you spend over an hour building up that kind of momentum, turning off the faucet just to let it drip for another five minutes is counter productive. The contrast between the gentle and pounding segments of the song are a world apart and the end of the song is simply so intense, it left them with no road left to drive so they went off the cliff.
Covering EITS without using clichés can feel impossible because no matter what kind of linguistic hoops you jump through, the best word to describe their performance is “explosive.” Walking out of the House of Blues, ticket holders needed a minute to get their head back into reality after the sonic journey we’d been taken on. The Explosions In The Sky concert experience is one that requires the patience and attention of their audience, and with that said, it just isn’t for everyone. However, for the listener willing to go into waters unknown, the sonic experience EITS will take you on is unlike anything else to be seen, heard or felt.