Explosions In The Sky with Adem at the Horseshoe, October 11. Tickets:$10. Attendance: sold out. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
The house was packed at the Horseshoe Monday night, and although the absence of affable bouncer Tyrone is still felt (at least by me), the presence of Austin instrumentalists Explosions in the Sky was felt and welcomed by those in attendance, as was that of tourmate and opener Adem .
His display of songwriting talent, folky heaviness and talented backing musicians was met with enjoyment by a good portion of the audience. The crowd clap-along Adem mustered during his performance of single Ringing In My Ear was a bit off-time. My suggestion? Next time he should tour with a band that has a more rhythmic fan base.
Shortly after, Explosions in the Sky hit the stage to a rousing, expectant response. Before they began, bearded guitarist Munaf Rayani gave props to our local music scene, but the band proceeded to outdo many within it, starting off with quiet guitar and bass interplay and huge, quick and precise drumming from Chris Hrasky .
The band used their chemistry and elements of dynamic surprise to keep the audience hooked, becoming quiet when building to a part that seemed as if it was going to become loud, and vice-versa. At their loudest they brought about a feeling of being in a wind tunnel while being punched in the ear. The volume did become eardrum-shattering several times during the show, as the band repeatedly linked one song to the next with heavy, albeit carefully planned, bursts of feedback.
That seamless flow was a highlight of the set, adding momentum to the evening. The fact that the audience was willing to put up with the brain-smashing volume of Explosions' inter-song transitions speaks either to their devotion or to the quality of their earplugs. Nevertheless, the band's artistry rewarded the crowd's attentiveness, as guitarist Mark Smith 's high-pitched melodies led the songs toward dramatic crescendoes and bassist Mike James kept the rhythms tight and slow or fast and loose, depending on what the moment called for.
The set ended somewhat abruptly, with Rayani tossing his guitar to the floor and the band making a quick exit, with no encore, but their style of performance seems exhausting, and the quality show they gave was undeniable. Explosions in the Sky both make and get positive feedback.