Walking into the Urban Lounge on Thursday night, the first thing I notice is that I am one of very few women. Not that it mattersâ€"â€"but it's an interesting fact that I have not been aware of the two other times I've seen the Texas-based This Will Destroy You play in the last year. Why the male-to-female ratio is so high tonight is a loss to me, so I move on to take note of the decent-sized crowd that has gathered for these guysâ€"â€"a little less than at SXSW, a little more than at Kilby the last time they were in town. Before coming to Urban, I was apprehensive about how TWDY's music would translate at this venue, because my experience with them at Kilby was an intimate one I will always remember. For now, I'm just excited the word has spread enough to draw more than 10 people here on a Thursday night.
The band sets up quickly, and we all congregate to the front of the stage. Without a word, Jeremy Galindo (guitar, effects), Chris King (guitar), Alex Bhore (drums) and Donovan Jones (bass) begin to play their heavy, otherworldly brand of ambient noise-rock. I stray away from the term "post-rock" here, as I know TWDY does not fit into the confines of any genre, and, in truth, are miles above the bands who identify as such. This Will Destroy You's music is not something you just listen toâ€"â€"it's an understanding that connects both sound and substance into moments of clarity and chaos for its audience.
As they move through tracks from their latest and darkest release, Tunnel Blanket, to the less dynamic but more heart-wrenching tracks off Young Mountain, blue light swirls over the stage, giving the band an ethereal, underwater glow that fits well with the sound emanating from their instruments. Galindo sits on a chair on the side of the stage, stomping his feet and bowing his head along to Bhore's driving drum beats. Jones beat down hard on his bass, and King, separated from the rest by the keyboards, dances around on his own. The crowd up front is still and silent, for the most part, all of us in a trance-like state. One gentleman rests his head in his arms on the speakers at the edge of the stage, bowed over it like he's praying at Galindo's feet.
It's been a rough day, and the chatter from the bar is irritating to all of us trying to enjoy the music, but it doesn't matter, as the band grows louder and louder, everything rushes the front of my mind in a chaotic jumble and bursts through as the noise reaches its peak, drowning out all my thoughts along with the drunk douchebags. This is why I make an effort to see This Will Destroy You play every chance I get. Their recordings are high quality, and I play them over and overâ€"â€"for inspiration when writing, for motivation when bikingâ€"â€"but their live show is always mind OBLITERATING.
The night ends in a thick wall of sound, and the band leave their instruments on the ground and walk off the stage. I want an encore, but the crowd has already moved from their posts towards the merch table. I stop to say hello to Bhore, whom I interviewed for SLUG last year, and leave feeling lucid and gratified.