Tier 3

music / / poetry / / philosophy / / -ology by Nick Courtright

Concert Review: Explosions in the Sky

If you love guitar, you love Explosions in the Sky, what with their six-strings crashing against each other in sound and swell and interlocking melody and a whole heap of testosterone. They’ve done well for themselves with this approach, having released their fourth LP earlier this year, and certainly, the Friday Night Lights gig has helped, giving them not only a ready-made national audience, but also a venue for their more-sensitive and soft material.

But Saturday night at Waterloo Park was no place for sensitive material. Without a need to rest vocal chords, Explosions in the Sky rocked relentlessly with crescendo-driven songs designed to inspire antsiness. Undoubtedly, the spider-fingered sometimes-bassist and spaceman guitarists, backed by a powerful drum presence, executed the Explosions in the Sky formula perfectly.But this is where the trouble arises—there is a formula of sorts at work here. Over the course of their career, the band has become more technically proficient, more gifted at playing off each other with absolute precision, more diverse in regards to soft songs versus hard songs…yet still seems to have fallen into a pattern where dynamism has been replaced by old reliable. After all, everyone kind of knows what to expect from Explosions in the Sky, right?

This predictability isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the band is still capable of churning out beautifully-constructed post-rock anthems worthy of shaking your speakers straight down the stairs. And when it comes to a live show—regardless of all the critical mumbo-jumbo—there’s no question that they still rock about as hard as anyone. And we in Austin love that sort of thing, especially from our hometown sons, right?

[photo courtesy of Keith Gaddis]


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