Report: Explosions In The Sky in Chicago

 

 

At the Chicago Theatre on June 26, the Texas quintet served up
Lone Star-worthy instrumental chaos and bliss.

 

Text & Photos By Klaus Nyman

No
need for words with Explosions in the Sky. With heads down and amplifiers
up, the five Texas
natives generated a musical storm of climactic highs and deep
lulls that allowed for meshed layers of effects-draped guitars.

 

Everyone
seated in the Chicago Theatre rose to their feet and
offered a standing ovation after just 3 songs of what would be a 9-song set. With
material dating back to 2001, the band gave fans a broad view of
the Explosions catalog, though nothing off their first release, How
Strange, Innocence
 (2000). 

 

 

 

 

Guitarist
Michael James began slowly warming up the crowd with “Postcard from 1952,” a
song off the 2011 release Take Care, Take Care, Take Care. This
record was the band’s first in 4 years since their 2007 release All
of a Sudden I Miss Everyone. (
One
more new tune, “Let Me Back In,” would also be performed from that recent
release during the evening.)

 

“Catastrophe
And The Cure” followed
the opening number with a seamless transition. Flashes of green, purple
and blue stage lights provoked emotions of a dream-like state. Orchestral melodies intertwined all 3 guitar parts and drove a non-stop
Explosions show.

 

Munaf
Rayani (guitar), stage left, stood in front of a full stack of amplifiers
covered by a large Texas
flag, Rayani headbanging so hard as to make it difficult to get a glimpse
of his face through all his hair. Stage right, Mark Smith (guitar) expressed
a depth of musical insight as he took
a seat during slower parts of certain songs; his physical
representation brought to life emotions to match the sonics. Chris Hrasky’s undulating
drum rhythms intensified
song climaxes while setting the structure for the set.

 

 

 

 

Despite
fans trying to coax an encore, the band ended the show leaving them wanting
more – apparently Explosions is known for concluding performances this way. “The
Moon Is Down” was
the last tune of
the evening that captured the beauty
of their controlled musical chaos. 

 

All
in all, a spiritual music experience, with emotion so raw it was felt by
everyone present. Even without a singer, they do what most acts struggle to do:
making believers of
new fans.

 

Setlist:

 

Postcard from 1952 (2011)

Castrophe And The Cure (2007)

The Only Moment We Were Alone (2003)

Body?

The Birth and The Death of The Day (2007)

Your Hand In Mine (2003)

Greet Death

Let Me Back In (2011)

The Moon Is Down (2001)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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