Last Wednesday night, Austin post-rock outfit Explosions in the Sky literally exploded over the heads of a sold-out crowd at the Ritz Ybor. The only fans disappointed this evening were the ones left standing outside trying to buy tickets; there didn't seem to be a single one available. While it seems unlikely that this particular band would fill the large venue, there's something powerful enough about their instrumental soundscapes that strike an emotional chord with music lovers of all types and ages, and drew them here on this night. [Text by Deborah, photos by Mike.]
I was given fair warning that the band plays "one of the loudest shows ever," but nothing prepared me for the thunderous wave that crashed over us when the band hit the stage. Without a single word, they launched into their set, never taking a pause or even speaking to the crowd during the entire show. They also wisely kept focus on the music itself; lighting was simply a glow of red and blue illuminating a sea of heads bobbing in unison as though hypnotized.
The sound was so loud it occasionally blew out the venue's system, though after the second song it seemed that most of the technical difficulties were handled. With the kinks worked out, the acoustics at The Ritz more than adequately handled the swelling crescendos. Much of the band's music begins softly and grows to hefty culminations of all three guitarists delivering overlapping melodies. Even with the similarities between the songs, there was ample opportunity for the group to showcase a variety of skills. Although their studio albums all bear a familiar mark, there is a range from softer instrumental pieces to the dramatically epic soundtrack fodder (Friday Night Lights) that drew most of the fans in attendance.
Towards the end of the show, the back rows began to get a bit restless; an hour-and-a-half of continuous instrumentals can take its toll. The group at the front of the stage never wavered their focus, however, intently watching as the band tore through an emotional setlist that drew from most of their albums.
Leaving without an encore, the band walked offstage with a simple "thanks a lot for your time," to the sound of thunderous applause. An explosion of a different kind, but one no less appreciated.
Tyler- I can't believe how talented of a writer you are. This article was beautifully…
Great interview! Give the interviewer a full time job! He's great!
The DJ was actually The Castle's very own DJ Tom Gold :)
Fabulous review Gabe! Too bad I missed it.