Explosions in the Sky shine at the Jefferson
Band's brand of pensive post-rock provides audience a chance to reflect
Without ever singing a word, instrumental post-rock group Explosions in the Sky manages to convey emotions and tell stories better than most bands with lyrics at their disposal. Explosions' music is alternately heartbreaking and triumphant, and both sensations reverberated throughout the Jefferson Theater Friday night as the band played the latest leg of its U.S. tour in support of its 2011 album Take Care, Take Care, Take Care.\n \nThe crowd at Friday's concert heard a band supremely confident in the niche it has developed for itself since its 2000 debut How Strange, Innocence. Other than a brief greeting and farewell from guitarist Munaf Rayani, the five-piece said nothing during the entirety of the show. Instead, they let their music do the talking.\n \nIt spoke loud and clear, with the band's three guitars blending together to evoke sentiments ranging from nostalgia and melancholy to hope and awe. This highlighted an important fact about Explosions, a band sometimes mischaracterized as playing music which all sounds the same. There is actually a wide variation between songs such as "Your Hand in Mine," which sounds wistful and tragic, and those such as "Postcard from 1952," which is positively exultant. The band wisely took care not to exaggerate these emotional swings in their live performance; instead, they shifted gradually between despair and joy to give the audience a chance to adjust.\n \nUnlike opening act Zammuto, which used a projector to play video clips as an accompaniment to their show, Explosions didn't incorporate much in the way of visual elements into their set. There were some isolated flashes of the stage lights to correspond with bass thumbs - and which obviously were meant to evoke the fireworks for which the band was named - but little else. For a band whose music is so powerfully cinematic, the lack of visual effects was disappointing.\n \nIn the end, the Jefferson Theater show did not reveal anything new about Explosions, but it did remind members of the crowd why they were there. The band excels at producing emotive rock music which offers listeners a sonic cocoon in which they can explore deep thoughts and feelings too often ignored in the hustle of day-to-day life. Friday night was no exception, and concert-goers seemed appreciative for the chance to lose themselves in a 90-minute set of well-crafted guitar instrumentation. Where the band will go from here is anyone's guess, but they've established a comfort zone for themselves and continue to offer audiences the chance to do the same.