Almost seven years ago when Everyview was first getting started, I penned a review for an Explosions in the Sky concert at the Congress Theatre in Chicago. It was my first time seeing the band and they blew my mind.
Last year at Denver’s Riot Fest and Rodeo, I finally got the chance to see them for a second time. I had a significantly better view right up at the stage this time, but one couldn’t help but notice the technical difficulties being endured by guitarist Munaf Rayani throughout their set. They were still great, but it didn’t quite match the flawlessness of the Congress show. Shit like that happens at festivals, and I definitely don’t hold it against the band.
So I was ecstatic when they announced a show at The Ogden Theatre for May 10. Obviously so were the rest of their fans around here because that show sold out quickly, prompting them to add a second show. They’re out on tour promoting their newest album The Wilderness and after seeing them for the third time it’s clear that their powers are only growing stronger over time.
Explosions in the Sky have this great ability to blend the songs from a live set into one another so beautifully that it all seems like one, continuous ride. The experience they have from years on the road shows in how the command your attention without speaking. The band played two nights at The Ogden, though I only went to the first show on May 10.
I stepped into the venue and immediately went to the merch stand in search of the limited edition splatter vinyl of The Wilderness. Guy behind the counter uttered these beautiful words: “There’s one more left.”
I stepped into the actual concert hall after securing the vinyl (and the concert poster), though I never buy any merchandise at concerts. But every once in awhile you want a show to be extra special, and this one fit the bill for me.
The opener, a band called Disappears, were solid. I could definitely see myself exploring some of their music now that I’ve discovered I enjoy their sound.
Explosions took the stage and kicked off with ‘Wilderness’, a song that was totally brand new to me. I tried to do something a little bit different heading in to this show knowing they’d just released a new album I was planning on buying at the show. I didn’t listen to it at all beforehand (despite it being available on streaming services for around a month). They wound up playing five songs from the new album over the ten total in their set, and they all stood out to me because it was the first time I’d heard any of them. I also heard ‘Disintegration Anxiety’, ‘Colors in Space’, ‘The Ecstatics’ and ‘Logic of a Dream’ from The Wilderness.
The new songs were blended in to a setlist containing well-known songs like ‘The Birth and Death of The Day’, ‘Your Hand In Mine’ and powerful show closer ‘The Only Moment We Were Alone.”
For what looks on the surface to be a minimalist show – just some lighting effects with smoke plus the band – is actually incredibly effective. Considering the pomp and circumstance the live show has become for many performers, simplicity is a welcomed detour. Just focus on the music.
And the audience was more in tune with the performance than other shows I’ve been to at The Ogden. No constant photo and video taking with smart phones, no people shuffling back and forth to the bar between every song. Very solid crowd, which in my experience, going to dozens of shows each year, can be the most hit-and-miss part of a show.
I encourage everyone to give Explosions in the Sky a listen is you enjoy powerful, guitar-driven, epic music. I love music without lyrics, and at a live show it’s amazing not having tons of people obsessed with playing karaoke with a band they paid $20-50+ to see. The band’s live show is one of the best I’ve seen, and now having seen them grow over seven years they’ve really dialed in to what makes their show stand out: the music.
Rating: 9/10 (Awesome)
-Catastrophe and the Cure
-The Birth and Death of the Day
-Logic of a Dream
-With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept
-Your Hand in Mine
-Colors in Space
-The Only Moment We Were Alone