Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Explosions in the Sky

Tonight I had the privilege of seeing Texas instrumental post-rockers Explosions in the Sky.

Wow, what a show. First of all, the guy in the band who actually says anything into the mic at all is about as sweet as the day is long (so about 24 hours worth of sweet... but packed into every word). He graciously pointed out at the beginning that it was the largest show they'd played on their own (meaning a headliner and not a festival), and when the crowd begged for an encore, he came back out to express his genuine gratitude, saying how much it meant to the whole band to have such a positive response, and that it was his regret to have to say that they wouldn't come on for said encore (for the record, they've only done like three in their entire career). You could tell he meant every word he said. Which is awesome.

As for the music... I compared it to hearing their album for the first time. When you first hear "Greet Death," for instance, opening "Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever," it's hard to express the awe you will feel if you enjoy it. It is incendiary shit. After listening to them for years, it doesn't dull down how rapturous the music is for you, but it's more familiar. But then, seeing them live, it is comparatively the same experience. This was the first time I'd ever seen them live, and every moment was nothing short of sensational. I used the word "rapturous" a moment ago in a literal sense. I would imagine that if Jesus Christ exists, and one day he returns to Earth to judge our souls in a time of both incredible suffering and incredible bliss, it would sound and feel like seeing Explosions in the Sky live. Never in my entire life have I wanted to hear something so painfully loud for so incredibly long and want to bathe myself in every decibel.

The band members themselves, you can tell, are into it. Each has his own signature move, which he does for the entire duration of the concert. Whether it be standing, leaned slightly back, with arms locked in an extended fashion, or rocking out, or looking like you intend to, on the count of three, launch your guitar into orbit using nothing but centripetal force and bliss, he does it from beginning to end. And in the last gutwrenching moments of their performance, every note on every guitar is played with arm and fist slamming. Every guy on stage looked like he wanted to KILL HIS GUITAR in the ultimate expression of an undying love, and I grinned like a fucking idiot to see it.

Frat boys and other misplaced idiots aside, their was nothing about this concert that I didn't like. There were a few minutes perhaps where I felt like it was long, or had a headache from the sheer volume and the thrashing of my head and body that I was engaged in, but at no point did I feel like I was having a bad time. All in all, it was perhaps one of the (if not THE) best concert experiences of my entire life. They played everything I wanted to hear, the concert was exactly like I'd imagined and hoped it would be except more real and even better than I could have purported, and my ears, somehow, aren't painfully ringing. If you get to see them live, you'd be a fool to turn it down.

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