Years ago I was up late channel surfing and “Austin City Limits” was on PBS. Love the show, never remember to watch it but when I do I generally see a band I already know and really like, or have never heard of before and become a fan. Explosions in the Sky falls into that second category and what a discovery that was!
Explosions in the Sky got things rolling in Austin, Texas back in 1999. Often times Wikipedia has content that is complete BS but I would not be surprised if this statement from the band’s Wiki page is true; “Temporary Residence Limited signed the band on the strength of their demo after only half a listen; the demo was submitted by fellow Austin band The American Analog Set with a brief note saying, ‘This totally fucking destroys.'” I 100% agree. When I saw this band on Austin City Limits I was blown away. No vocals, three guitars and a mind-blowing power that was at times so tranquil I could barely hear a note being played then without warning so intense that my ears would start to bleed. All this with the TV volume pretty low so I would not wake up the rest of the house!
There were subtitles during the performance which was good because each song immediately transitioned into the next. One that caught my ear in particular was “Catastrophe and the Cure”. The next day I hit up the record store and found 2007’s All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone. I became a fan the night before, I was 100% locked in once I put that disc in my car player.
However, it was not until August 28, 2016 that I finally saw this band live. The Marquee Theatre played host to the evening and things got off to a great start when local band Celebration Guns opened the festivities. GREAT band that possesses a similar type of sound, need to see them again. 🙂 EITS took the stage shortly thereafter, said hello to the crowd then the first notes of “First Breath After Coma”, the first song from the band’s third album The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place were delivered. Pretty good chance if you are not familiar with the band that you have heard this song used in various commercials over the years. I was in heaven and that feeling did not stop for the next 90 minutes. 12 glorious songs were played in succession and what was truly awesome is for once, a Phoenix (well Tempe in this case) crowd actually shut the hell up and paid attention to a great band playing a great set of music. Rant over. That was key because not only did every song flow into the next, as explosive as the music was one second it was immediately brought down to a whisper the next. One of the top five shows this fan of music has ever witnessed and that is saying a lot considering how many shows I have seen in the past 30+ years.
The set list here is what the band actually played. Why would I dare mess with perfection? The only thing I did was add at the end “A Poor Man’s Memory” from 2001’s Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever. It is my favorite track from Explosions in the Sky and what happens at the 4:46 mark will blow you away, it is that intense.
I am also willing to believe many of you have heard them because of their contribution to the “Friday Night Lights” movie and television show. Please check this band out, their style of “post-rock” crosses so many musical genres!