Explosions in the Sky
w/ The Octopus Project
July 4th 2009
Stubb's in Austin, TX
Is there a better band to see on July 4th than Explosions in the Sky? And don't give me some weak ass answer like John Cougar Mellencamp. He loves America, I'll give you that, but Explosions are named after fireworks and played their very first show on the fourth. Judges rule: Mellencamp can suck it.
Explosions celebrated their 10th anniversary as a band with a huge show at Stubb's. In case you aren't familiar with them here's a little info:
--> instrumental band known for their soaring anthemic rock. Frequently described as "Totally fucking EPIC!!!1!"
--> their music lends itself to soundtracks. In fact they wrote most of the music for the Friday Night Lights movie. They're also the theme music for my personal
sex tapes home movies.
Saturday night was hot even by Austin standards. I was geared up for a night of powerful instrumental indie-music not stifling heat and a drenched shirt. Yet I carried on...heroically. It was the 4th of July and it was my American duty to drink Lone Star and listen to great music. Ass sweat be damned.
Opening for Explosions were fellow Austinites The Octopus Project. They were one of the highlights of last year's Fun Fun Fun Fest. This performance was not unlike their Fest set: fun, quirky, rocking at times but with plenty of experimental elements. They displayed impressive musicianship as each member took turns playing various instruments. My favorite part of The Octopus Project is their use of the Theremin. It makes it sound like ghosts are howling along with the band. It's creepy cool.
After a quick changeover Explosions in the Sky addressed the audience and thanked everyone for their support over the last decade. The 90 minute set validated their reputation as a superior live band. The show had a great rock dynamic - emotionally resonant tunes with build-ups/payoffs, heaps of elaborate guitar work, and a powerful rhythm section. There was plenty to like. However, as beautiful as their style of post-rock music can be, it blended together after a while. Admittedly I wasn't familiar with most songs and wasn't smoking lots of weed like the people around me. Maybe that's why I enjoyed the show slightly less than everyone else. I'm not exactly sure. Maybe I'm just being picky. I probably would've felt differently had they played the Star Spangled Banner Jimi-style. Maybe next year.