Ogden Theater-Denver, CO
Explosions in the Sky is not a band you go to see for the dance party. But don’t tell that to the guy in front of the stage with the Romanowski Jersey doing his tomahawk chop-finger point - air drum – beat your palms on the stage dance. He was into it, and he was going to dance damnit, ambient or not. Mr. Romanowski kind of sums up the Explosions in the Sky experience: it’s all at once ethereal, cacophonous, wandering, and most of all, moving; you can’t help but get into it.
Here are the facts: four dudes, 20 some odd effects pedals, 2 snare drums, and a grab-bag smorgasbord crowd. I think the last of those observations was one of the more interesting of the night, and one thing that Explosions has going for them - all kinds of people like them. Explosions establish that delicate harmony between rockers, hipsters, hippies and suburbanites –“like we are totally store whores tonight, you’re all American Apparel and I’m all Urban Outfitters.” There were dreads, beards, tight clothes, loose clothes, teenagers, and moms and dads alike at the show, and it was packed.
So, crowd established, how was the music? Good, really good. Although Explosions is a band I have relegated to the “music I listen to when I’m reading and don’t want to listen to the classical streaming station on itunes anymore” genre, it was good to experience them live. I saw Jesu a few months back, and although Jesu and Explosions styles of music are arguably different, they are both drawn out, ambient to a degree, and have the potential for major boredom. Jesu did not fare so well in the boredom department, my mind wandered while watching Jason Broadrick do his thing, which mainly consisted of standing still and plodding through his songs. Thoughts like “do I have enough money for lunch tomorrow?” were strolling through my dome, whereas when my mind wandered with Explosions it was pensive. “Wow this is a great experience, I wonder what it took them to write that riff, what is the meaning of life, etc.” But that didn’t last too long, because there was so much energy, so much gyration, so much time spent on the floor of the stage! that it was impossible to ignore the giant swells and beautiful yet brutal climaxes and be sucked right back in.
Explosions have a good thing going and Denver took notice, as did the band members from the stage who remarked, “last time we played here was seven years ago, and I don’t think there were this many people on the block surrounding the club we played.” After their performance I don’t think they’ll have trouble convincing me or Mr. Romanowski Jersey tomahawk chop to come back next time they come through.