October 7, 2023

Explosions in the Sky played The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place at Bowery Ballroom (Night 1)

After concluding the American leg of their most recent tour with a lavish show at Brooklyn's Kings Theatre, Explosions in the Sky stuck around New York to play their 2003 epic The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place, in-full, at the intimate Bowery Ballroom.

Explosions in the Sky might be the epitome of a band who has stuck to their guns to personify the ethos of if it's not broken, don't fix it, when it comes to their particular style of post-rock. For twenty-four years, the band from Austin, Texas has perfected and repeated their brand of loud/quiet dynamics that feature twinkling guitars one minute and towering storms of crushing distortion the next and they did it, arguably, best on their third studio album, 2003's The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place. To the casual ear, EiTS may have released the same album eight times over, but to their devoted fans, the band's journey has been one full of highs where they band has found new ways to express their everlasting mix of harrowing guitar lines and driving rhythms. Even though they've actually scored numerous films and crafted several soundtracks, their studio records are also cinematic in scope and can come to act as soundtracks for their fans lives, making even the most mundane of tasks swell with rich texture and vibrant colors all due to the immense emotional pull and weight their instrumental movements can carry. The single guitar note to ring in the start of the album is always a spine-chilling moment, the ping signaling out almost as a call to action as it sets the scene for the forty-five minutes that are about to follow and as the kick drum hits like the echo of a heart beat, the band slowly comes in and elevates the track to a new level and being able to witness this live in such a small setting felt immensely powerful and while it was the same first song they started their show with only a few days prior, knowing that the rest of the album was about to follow suit changed the entire setting. As white lights encircled the band, soaring guitars cranked up the volume and sent the night to a staggering height that was toppled during the final moments of a blistering rendition of "The Only Moment We Were Alone," the first heavy moment of the night that has the crowd screaming along as the track collapsed into rubble. "Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean" was a swiftly moving number that had the band twiddling with their floor pedals, building up impressive and immersive walls of sound bringing out shoegaze vibes as the guitars melted into one another for lush ebbs and flows of shining solos before wrapping up the crowd in a blanket of delayed effects and engulfing guitar tones. Despite the album only being five tracks long, the third and fourth numbers aren't as frequent in set lists so to hear them at all was a real treat and as part of this collection of songs, it felt exceptionally stellar. "Memorial" challenged the most extreme moments of the night as the band ripped away at its pulverizing finish, the four sting players attacking their instruments with vicious power. It was a head-spinning song that really jumped to life on stage and blasted the crowd with eviscerating force set to melt faces and blow minds and as the song finally settled, the reaction around the room confirmed its strength and ability to leave the crowd in complete awe. Of course "Your Hand in Mine" mad for an eventful finish to the album, its swaying melodies wrangling Michael James and Munaf Rayani into their synced movements of weight shifting and guitar slinging. Instead of ending the night early, the band perfectly kept their momentum up but diving straight into "The Catastrophe and the Cure," another surging song in the band's catalogue that always gets the crowd pumped with its triple-picked guitars and ascending rhythm that builds with jackhammer-like bursts of fury. The rest of the set was mostly comprised of new tracks from their latest album, the quiet good End, but the band did manage to sneak in an thunderous "Greet Death" that once again took things to the upper limits as the onslaught of guitars pummeled with devastating execution, once again driving home the band's fiercest display of wicked power. For an album that has meant so much to so many, hearing it come to life to soundtrack a new moment in time was divine and moving in so many unexpected ways. When a sound can be so captivating and heartfelt without even saying a word, it's hard to imagine why you'd go about changing it and for Explosions in the Sky they've made it clear that their formula not only works, continuously proves to be a massive success.

Set list:

01 "First Breath After Coma"
02 "The Only Moment We Were Alone"
03 "Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean"
04 "Memorial"
05 "Your Hand in Mine"
06 "The Catastrophe and the Cure"
07 "Moving On"
08 "Greet Death"
09 "It's Never Going to Stop"
10 "The Fight"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Was there a supporting act? What time did they go on?