The Institute seems a fitting venue for this evenings performance from Explosions in the Sky, its much more intimate than the Academy and always has a better vibe especially for a band like Explosions who’s live shows are known to be pretty epic.
The support for the evening come from Entrance , chances are you haven’t heard of him and its fairly obvious the majority of the crowd didn’t know who he was either. At first it seemed a slightly odd choice, Entrance is just one guy, his guitar and a sample desk, to be more specific Entrance is Guy Blakeslee, his floppy hair and dapper dress style are very unassuming but he more than held his own up on that stage. Bathed in a magenta light he played a highly enjoyable set, his music had more than a few nods to Johnny Cash and he definitely appeared to win the crowd over. The last song was pretty splendid even though at first it threw me, ditching the guitar he just used his voice and a set a bells attached to his wrist it was actually quite a beautiful and haunting moment and he left the stage to rapturous applause. I would highly recommend checking him out, he’s very quirky and original.
Explosions in the Sky are certainly one of the more popular and mainstream Post Rock bands out there and even though I love Post Rock I’ve never really properly listened to them so I jumped at the chance to catch them live and I had very high hopes. They have somewhat of a cult following and the room is very full and unsurprisingly predominately male, what is with that? Why is there always a lack of girls at shows like this?
There are a few words that can describe what enfolded over the course of the next hour or so, epic, atmospheric and spine tingling come to mind. That and the contrasts between the quietest, softest moments and deafening crescendos the set was a relentless onslaught of instrumental magicianship; a Post Rock lovers wet dream. The guys in Explosions have an obvious chemistry on stage and it all just seems to come so easy for them, never missing a beat. They succeed in creating one hell of an atmosphere, its almost like a cloud of music descends over the crowd and like those massive rainstorms that bring everything to a standstill you can’t help but be in the moment, nothing else really matters just the music and the company of other fans.
Something has to be said for the light show though, I mean I don’t think I’ve ever really paid that much attention to that sort of stuff before but it certainly grabbed my attention this evening. The fog engulfing the front of the stage with lights cutting through it was mesmerising and just added that extra dimension and depth to the performance.
The set takes mostly from the new album Wilderness but also dips into their back catalogue to please the fans. From the slow burning ‘Wilderness’ that opens the show to the deafening conclusion of ‘The Only Moment We Were Alone’
You can see why these guys have such a cult following and in terms of live performances they have the whole package. A thoroughly enjoyable performance.
Review: Hannah Sebestjanwicz
Photographs: Lee Allen