Isn't funny how things work out? I was very bummed the last time Explosions in the Sky was scheduled to play in Dallas, as I missed out on ticket and press opportunities. I, in turn, covered TV on the Radio and Broken Social Scene at the House of Blues. Fortunate for me, the weather did not cooperate and the outdoor Explosions show at Strauss Square could not be held and was canceled. That night, I enjoyed a fiery performance from Brooklyn's TVoTR and proclaimed myself lucky as I had made the 'right' choice. But I was not without regret and sympathy, as I would l have loved to had the opportunity to see the band I haven't seen since 2007 (Meachem Auditorium, University of Oklahoma) and felt awful for those who had, not only their night ruined, but missed on seeing Explosions perform. But as luck would find it, the band rescheduled to perform the Winspear Opera House and I found myself in the good graces of Explosions' press relations and was once again in the presence of the explosive quintet from Austin.
Perhaps the only downside to the evening was that I arrived late to the Winspear and only caught the two last songs of the Burning Hotels. As I walked into the majestic Opera House, I was greeted by the energetic sounds of"Beard", the latest and greatest track from the Burning Hotels' self-titled effort, released earlier this year. The band's sound has really been polished and resonated well within the Winspear's walls. The crowd, whom was standing the last two songs, soaked in the electro-pop offerings from the Fort Worth products and craved more as the band wound down their final track. These guys are definitely on the up and up and are one of my favorite local bands. They are mainstay in the local music scene and one worth checking out. With their plentiful dates in the DFW area, there's no excuse for not catching them.
As the crowd grew in anticipation, it was obvious something was awry. The nearly sold out Opera House was barely three quarters full minutes before Explosions took stage. It was clearly apparent that the rescheduled date and World Series game took its toll on the capacity, but those in attendance were not deterred by the absence of their fellow concert goers. As the time wound down between sets, the house music's volume increased by two fold and everyone knew it was only a matter of seconds before the band took their respective places onstage. With prior experience of an Explosions concert, I was fully prepared for an auditory assault and brought my Ety·Plugs for safe measure, but only a few notes into the performance, it was clear that the sound was not in excess but rather in rich clarity and great acoustics.
Opening with "The Only Moment We Were Alone", the band' manifesto was crystal clear: We are here to rock your face off. The subtle sequences, most of which are melodic and dreamy, are infused with cascades of raw energy and sheer power. But even with the amount of sound coming out of the Opera House's strategically-placed PA's, the music flowed freely and was without distortion. It was indeed the perfect pairing for this show. In a venue that routinely books and exhibits the highest forms of art, Explosions' music could compete with the most exquisite, orchestrated soundscapes and the images created by said music could send your imagination to places unknown but places you want to visit. It's seemingly hard to believe that Explosions employs three guitarists, all of which with different tones and sounds. Most bands with that many strings would produce strictly noise, but Explosions somehow creates a collage of notes that combine to build some of the greatest post-rock songs known to man. The nearly career-spanding set list was full of sonic goodness and probably couldn't have been better in my opinion. Since it was a seated affair at the Winspear, it was almost offensive to hear the obnoxious shouts or see the aimless dancers in the middle of the aisles. Call me crazy but if everyone but you is sitting down, you should probably sit down too. Outside of these few annoyances, Explosions set was seemless and flawless. Ending with my personal favorite, "The Birth and Death of the Day" and the conclusive "The Moon Is Down", the show ended on the highest of notes. Unfortunately, the band did not extend their set with an encore but the crowd handled it well, as they were still in awe of their fantastic performance. It was a great night. Pictures of the show are below:
Explosions in the Sky / the Burning Hotels @ Winspear Opera House, Dallas, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on 10:38:00 PM Rating: