Texan four-piece instrumentalists Explosions In The Sky have achieved something that has proved very difficult among bands classed under the genre ‘post-rock’: a style of music that still remains a hidden gem in the world of modern music. Throughout their career these guys have broken through barriers and have risen to be one of the most popular and accessible post-rock bands, so it’s no surprise that their show at Melbourne’s Forum sold out.
It was a perfect mood for the night’s show. The inside of the sizeable venue reeked with excitement with a hefty crowd full of dedicated fans crowding around the front bars in order to secure their first class spot for the show before the majority of the crowd had even been let into the venue. Local six-piece opening band Harmony created a mixture of enjoyment and crowd confusion with their act, as it seemed evident that the musical style they were conveying – similar to what would be played in the sad parts of Ned Kelly documentaries with a few passionate roars placed in unexpected parts of their songs to keep it interesting – proved somewhat difficult to grasp by the fans.
One of the exceptional things about this band which seemed to be overlooked by the crowd was their ability to order their songs in such a way that it told a story to the crowd, which is a very unique thing to do on stage. Despite putting on a tight and distinctive show which had few flaws, it seemed apparent that they felt undeserving of playing to such a large crowd as their banter between songs was mainly about how surprised they were that they hadn’t been booed off the stage.
After what seemed like an eternity of waiting between acts, the crowd almost immediately started ruffling towards the front as if they could catch the scent of the headlining act about to go out on stage. Surely enough, Explosions In The Sky headed out with the biggest grins on their faces one could ever hope to see. Munaf Rayani, one of the lead guitarists, proceeded to stroll to the sole vocal microphone in order to say a few words regarding how excited they are and went on to thank the crowd and the opening band for their attendance.
Following this, the band geared up and played “The Only Moment We Were Alone”, which seemed to be a fan favourite due to the masses amounts of cheering coming from the crowd. Despite a packed out venue, Explosions In The Sky still managed to create an astonishing level of intimacy between the crowd and themselves as they took their fans on a journey full of highs and lows throughout the ten minute piece.
The songs had brief interludes comprised of what appeared to be a mixture of premeditated and improvised sounds. There was no banter between performances which kept the intimate vibe alive throughout their whole set.
As Explosions In The Sky are very well known for their passionate shows, it was no surprise that as their hour and a half performance went on their excitement built up hard and fast. The members were slowly swaying to their music in the beginning, which soon built up when they played “Postcard From 1952” half an hour in as Munaf was seen throwing his guitar neck up onto the stage. Things remained stable until their spectacular closing piece “The Moon is Down” seemed to possess Munaf into kneeling down and repeatedly smashing a tambourine on the floor for the last five minutes of the song.
The wonderful set then ended and after a moment of Munaf catching his breath he stood up, thanked the crowd and left the stage leaving nothing but their equipment and the ghost of a performance that left Explosions in the Sky fans completely fulfilled.
– Tom Gaffney