PHOTOS, review: Explosions in the Sky at the Fillmore in Denver - Reverb

Live review: Explosions in the Sky @ the Fillmore Auditorium

Explosions in the Sky seems to always find itself in a bit of a pickle come September 11. In 2001, the Austin instrumental group released its landmark record, “Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever,” a week before the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. As if the the band’s name wasn’t enough, song titles like “Greet Death” and album art featuring an airplane, angel and combat soldiers got the conspiracy theory wheels a spinnin’. Just this month, a marquee announced EITS’s Boise concert with the words “Explosions in the Sky Concert Sept 11” to much controversy. Two days later, the band played the Fillmore in Denver.

It must be said that Explosions in the Sky, as a band, does cause its fair share of issues. For one, its songs blend into a swirl of resemblance: Even a person who has seen the group on multiple occasions and has listened to its records thoroughly will still find him or herself saying, “What’s this one called again?”

It’s not really a “problem,” per se, but the quartet (quintet on this “Take Care, Take Care, Take Care” tour) does step in line to an arcing structure much of the time. There is a pensive lull before two-to-three guitars pick up speed and crescendo into a blasting climax which is backboned by Chris Hrasky’s rolling, focused and splendid drumming. It’s an ideal match for a storyline —- it is, in and of itself, its own narrative —- which probably explains why many in the audience at the Fillmore were familiar with the band’s music courtesy of “Friday Night Lights.”

The giant room had a two-thirds body capacity, but EITS projected and filled the rest with sound, a very loud and balanced wave reaching all the way back to the entryway arches. These Texans often exhibit a toothy, true grit yet the group is more subtle and less harsh than its post-rock peers Mogwai or Godspeed You Black Emperor (which explains something of the bleed of one song into the next). At the end of the night, guitarist Munaf Rayani —- who had, all night, been dipping and swaying to the tremors of his chords like a Ecstasy-dosed conductor —- remarked, “Thank you very much for your time and your attention.” Both were well worth it.

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Colin St. John is a Denver-based writer and merrymaker. Follow him on Twitter and check out his blog.

Michael McGrath is a Denver area photographer. His work is available at Twist and Shout Records. Visit his website.