Sometimes I really hate feeling so much. As a recently divorced lady, I don't want to feel a goddamn thing right now. No, thanks. I'd rather work. That's it.
So when I took my seat at Radio City Music Hall to see Explosions in the Sky on April 6, I had no idea that for the next hour and 15 minutes the past several years with my ex-huz would flash in my mind like a dusty old film projector spinning reels of the good, the bad, the end. Yes, Explosions' long-drawn-out epic instrumentals can do that to you whether you like it or not. Bring back memories that you'd rather shove under the bed in a shoebox. So beautiful, yet there's a creeping sadness just below the surface.
New tracks from the Austin-based quartet's fifth album Take Care, Take Care, Take Care (out April 26 via Temporary Residence) offer up more of their trademark instrumental bliss. Like waves, songs begin as a slight rippling wake that build to a tidal wave, crash, and then become peacefully still. Think heavy, wall of sound immensity of Mogwai combined with the sparkling guitars of Tristeza. It's funny. All of EITS' songs are kinda similar, but they're not. How do they do that? Without vocals. Without solos. Magic? No idea. But it sounds amazing so who cares.
Radio City in all of its cavernous, grandiose splendor set the scene for the performance perfectly. Explosions' sonic mass of sound vibrated through the hall with opener/new track "Postcard from 1952." Three guitars thick. Quiet-loud-quiet. Sad and gorgeous. I can handle this, right? Yea. The songs bled into one another and I held it together until I heard "The Only Moment We Were Alone," from the band's third album, The Earth is not a Cold Dead Place. It bursts into a wall of sound mid-song that's just a bit louder than the other tunes. Needless to say, I started to slip.
My ex-huz? He's an artist who screenprints rock posters. We often worked on them together. I concepted, chose color palettes…he designed and printed. It's 3am at the printing studio, he's pulling his last color for an Explosions in the Sky poster. And I'm sprinkling gold glitter on each one before the ink dries. We're delirious, laughing our asses off, glitter everywhere, ink everywhere. Love the poster. High-five.
Well, I didn't hold it together much longer. I tried to choke back the sobs that welled up so the bearded dude next to me wouldn't notice. But when the first strings of "Your Hand in Mine" were strummed, tears just streamed down my face. The shimmering guitars mixed with crisp drum rolls ascended, peaked, and crashed. The End. I kept thinking, "God, pull it together. What the hell?" And I did pull it together, but not until EITS finished their set with another new song, "Trembling Hands." Then I stood up, stone-faced, and walked out the doors of Radio City not feeling anything because, well, I shut it down in about two minutes. I'd like to thank Explosions in the Sky for making me feel something just for a little while. Now back to work.
Postcard From 1952, The Birth and Death of the Day, Yasmin the Light, Last Known Surroundings, The Only Moment We Were Alone, Catastrophe and the Cure, Let Me Back In, Your Hand in Mine, Trembling Hands
images via Nasty Little Man & SuperKonductor