Some bands have mastered the melodic formula to cracking open hearts. Austin's Explosions in the Sky is one of those bands.
I'll explain it like this: I haven't been to a show were so many in the crowd spent so much of their time with their eyes closed and silly grins pasted across their faces in a long, long time.
I've loved this band since I was 14, but had burned myself out a bit on their existential post rock during my very, shall we say, emotional
teen years, where I spun their albums on repeat and ladled on a dose of Friday Night Lights —
they provided the soundtrack — for good measure.
But like the other highly atmospheric super group that rose to prominence in the early aughts, and that I totally burned myself out on after sonically gorging on too much for too long — Sigur Ros, of course — I fell back in love within seconds of settling into their live show at Deluxe tonight.
With instrumental music, it can be hard to tell when songs begin and end. Without stanza, chorus, stanza or some such pattern to sing along to, songs tend to wind into each other, ebbing and flowing, building and crashing. I have to admit, I'm not entirely sure how many songs EITS played tonight — somewhere in the 11 to 12 range, I'd guess. But their entire hour and a handful of minutes set was basically perfect, and sounded great in the sometimes-tricky Live Nation basement venue. It was a pleasure to witness.
Opening band Lower Dens had a Heartless-Bastards-meets-Sixteen-Candles
vibe that I dug for the first several songs, but I found myself drifting out of focus watching the two-piece. The Houston band played out as a four-piece earlier in the year, and I think their Cure-inspired songs would have benefited from a few more players fleshing out the 40-minute set.