Explosions in the Sky at the Boulder Theater, 4/5/12 (photos, review)By Cassandra Schoon | April 6th, 2012 | No Comments »
Whether a band has been together for a few months or a decade, there is a distinct energy of newness and excitement singular to the first show of a tour. Thursday night’s show at the Boulder Theater was a shining example of this opening night intensity, for both Zammuto (Former Books frontman Nick Zammuto’s new band, formed just months ago) and Explosions in the Sky. For the nascent Zammuto, the show displayed a preponderance of potential, that full-to-bursting new-band fervor. And of course, for Explosions — whose musical symbiosis and trademark sound has a polish and precision only time can produce — the show was both tightly executed and brimming with the first-night vitality.
Photos, below, from a September 2011 show at the Fillmore Auditorium
Zammuto’s set started off with a couple of jammy, proggy songs, both of which showcased the band’s capacity, but also pointed to its greenness as a group and the fact that the members haven’t quite found which musical direction they hope to eventually take. The last songs of their set included visuals, culminating in a version of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” in which a video of an autoharp tutorial was sampled and remixed with live drums, keys and guitar. This was the first opening band I’ve seen in some time that ended on such an energetic note — actually fulfilling the opener’s role of getting the packed-to-the-gills crowd energized for the main event.
Explosions in the Sky started the proceedings with “First Breath After Coma,” with its thumping heartbeat and intricate guitar crescendos. The band’s practice of building songs up from delicately-picked prettiness into squalls of drums and guitar can become almost repetitive at moments, but when interjected with the haunting, minor-keyed songs from the band’s 2011 album, “Take Care, Take Care, Take Care,” the end result is more complex. The small departures the group has taken with its new material (even integrating a pre-recorded vocal track for one song) show that the band can transcend the cinematic sound it’s known for. Energized by fresh material and a healthy dose of kickoff-night intensity, Explosions filled every corner of the Boulder Theater with true virtuosity.
Cassandra Schoon is a Denver freelance writer and regular Reverb contributor.