All 📸 by Alexis Panidis
The majestic Albert Hall came alive with the entrancing melodies of Explosions in the Sky, weaving an auditory tapestry that continues to resonate within me. This band takes me on a trip down memory lane, back to the days when my understanding of good music was, admittedly, a bit naive. I vividly recall rifling through my friend’s extensive vinyl collection when 'The Wilderness' caught my eye. Its vibrant, geometric cover stood out amidst the sea of plain black records. Curious, I turned to my friend and asked, "What's this?" His face lit up with excitement as he held the album aloft, proclaiming, "This is post-rock; this is Explosions in the Sky," with a reverence as if he had just been given the Ten Commandments by God Himself.
From the very first note that resonated from the turntable, I was spellbound. My musical horizons were broadened like never before, ushering me into an awe-inspiring world of exploratory sounds, mesmerizing riffs, and lush soundscapes. Since that moment, I had harbored an ardent desire to experience their music live and to own my personal copy of 'The Wilderness'. Attending their gig at Albert Hall was more than just another concert - it was a milestone, a culmination of my musical journey with them. And indeed, it was everything I had hoped for and more.
Doors opening at 7pm, we got to the venue at 10 past with the job of securing an incredible spot which I would suggest anyone going to Albert Hall to follow suite. Top left is my go to place, we waited - should have brought a cushion as the benches do numb your arse giving me flashbacks to year 6 in primary school when you can sit on the benches at assembly.
The Texas superstars asked Stockport band Derailer to open the night. Tasked with setting the tone, these musicians took to the stage well, delivering a set well in line with the explorative sound of Explosions In The Sky. They commanded the audience, who perhaps may not have known them, but warmed our hearts and sufficed our appetite for a while longer as we eagerly awaited EITS.
In the intermission's buzz, heightened by Derailer's rocking set, I found myself running donw the steps to gain a copy of 'The Wilderness' vinyl, a treasure that will has given me a full circle moment into good music, a tear dropped I was happy and omplete as I then had to run up two flights of stairs, pain in my chest to sit down for the opening moments that we were all waiting for.
As the lights dimmed and the atmospheric smoked oozed out into the crowd Explosions in the Sky, the band that ushered me into the expansive realm of post-rock, took to the stage. the people erupted, they struck their chords and so the hour and half of pure instrumentalism began.
As masters of post-rock, Explosions in the Sky have a unique gift for creating soundscapes that are both intimately personal and grandly cinematic. Their performance at Albert Hall was a testament to this, taking the audience on a profound auditory journey.
The concert opened with "First Breath After Coma", its delicate strums blossoming into a powerful crescendo, setting the tone for a night of dreamlike transitions and emotional depth. This opening piece seamlessly gave way to "Catastrophe and the Cure", from their 2007 Album (and another of my faves) 'All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone', a track that, like a rollercoaster, swayed between introspective melodies and peaks of euphoria, capturing a spectrum of emotions in its wake.
As the evening progressed, "All Mountains" emerged as a standout performance. This track, like a climb to the summit of a high peak, brought the audience to new heights of sensory experience, each guitar strum echoing the band's remarkable musical prowess.
Building on this crescendo, "The Only Moment We Were Alone" unfolded like a grand narrative. This epic composition, embodying the quintessence of the band's sound, enveloped the audience in a wave of emotive force, creating a moment suspended in musical transcendence.
In perfect synchrony, each member of Explosions in the Sky meshed like gears in a well-oiled machine, their harmonious interplay a testament to their profound connection and extraordinary capabilities as artists. The audience, whether seated or standing, was utterly captivated, swept up in the band's commanding presence and the sheer intensity they brought to the stage. Given that much of their performance is instrumental, it was impossible to divert one's gaze even for a moment. Each composition seamlessly transitioned into the next, their graceful flow punctuated by waves of applause that seemed to reverberate through the venerable walls of Albert Hall.
The concert drew to a close with "Your Hand in Mine", a track that felt like a serene afterword to the evening's emotional storm. This closing piece left the crowd in a reflective hush, a fitting conclusion to a night that was less a series of performances and more a continuous, flowing odyssey of sound.
In essence, Explosions in the Sky's show at Albert Hall wasn't just a concert; it was an intertwined narrative of music and emotion, a journey through sound that resonated with the soul. Their ability to connect a sequence of individual tracks into a cohesive, emotive experience is what continues to define them as luminaries in the post-rock genre. We cannot wait to see them again and add another vinyl to our collection!