Explosions In The Sky. Photo: Dave Brewer
In just their fourth trip to Salt Lake and my third time seeing them live, Explosions In The Sky has blasted through the ceiling that most of their post-rock counterparts live under, and are making their way into the mainstream. On Saturday night, In The Venue was stuffed, and not only with the Portlandia characters that filled the venue last time I saw them there but with folks from all walks, including some girls dressed in tight sequined dresses headed for the club after they enjoyed the instrumental five-piece from Texas.
Before Explosions could completely call the night their own, attendees were treated to just the sixth performance ever of Zammuto, and what a performance it was. This new project band, headed by Nick Zammuto of The Books, play a good balance of electronica and rock, and combined videography with most of their songs projected onto a screen behind them while they played. Videos included home-movie footage of the band, an awesome finger-skateboarding video, and a hilarious autoharp infomercial all synced beautifully to their music. Zammuto is definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re a fan of The Books or bands like Modest Mouse and Ratatat.
As the crowd was still buzzing from the electric performance of Zammuto, frontman Munaf Rayani (Rayani earns the title “frontman” by being the only one who speaks during their shows) of Explosions took the stage with the rest of the five-piece. After just a few short gracious words, Rayani raised his guitar above his head and smashed out distorted feedback just as you hear it on their records (if your record player goes to eleven, that is). The crowd roared. They played continuously for a near hour-and-a-half without stopping in between songs, meshing each one into the next as if the entire set was one song. Maybe it’s just been a while since I’ve been to a show with a professional sound system, but Explosions played one of the loudest shows I can remember at In The Venue. The highlight of their performance was definitely “It’s Natural To Be Afraid,” which brought the house down midway through their set.
Since the last time I saw Explosions, they definitely took a more rockin’ approach to their songs; there was much more head bobbing from the crowd than there was spacey swaying, and I think I even saw a few raised fists. The talent level of these guys as well as the style of music they play has allowed them a lot of freedom. Some songs were recognizable note for note as they sound on their records, while others took me a minute to identify as they changed up the delivery with either softer, drawn-out measures or a faster, more heavy-hitting approach. If you haven’t heard Explosions In The Sky for yourself yet, check out their newest album, Take Care, Take Care, or my personal favorite of theirs, All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone.
Check out more photos of the show by Dave Brewer here.