Live Music + Gig Reviews

Explosions In The Sky @ Brixton Academy, London

27 January 2012

Explosions In The Sky’s epic, layered post-rock guitar instrumentals don’t exactly lend themselves to between song banter or audience sing-alongs, but that doesn’t stop those on the stage and those in front of it from showing their appreciation of one another tonight.

The visiting Texans take to the stage of one of London’s most famous and iconic rock venues by thanking the audience for having them, proclaiming that they never thought music like theirs “would be heard in a room like this”. In return, the audience shows its approval by regularly clapping along to a set taken largely from 2011’s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care wrapped around tracks from the previous ten years of their career.

Explosions have come a long way from the cult status they enjoyed when they first played All Tomorrow’s Parties in April 2004, back when the indier-than-thou weekender was still at its original venue of Camber Sands. They’ve been invited back to versions of the festival around the world, not to mention curating in 2008, and have grown with the organisation to both complement and surpass it, as their exuberant headline slot at the 2011 Green Man Festival evidenced. Brixton sees them complete the circle: if skinny-jeaned indie kids take the time to brave holiday resorts normally reserved only for fat, bald men in England shirts and their bleached blonde wives in order to catch them, it’s only fair that Explosions In The Sky pay them back by making a home visit.

The light show tonight is as impressive as the sound, befitting a group who named themselves after fireworks. At times they are backlit into eerie silhouettes, at times the lights threaten to blind the audience with their brightness. The titles of the songs they perform tonight – including Greet Death and The Moon is Down (from 2001’s Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever) and The Birth and Death of the Day (from 2007’s All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone) might suggest doom laden misery but the result is more euphoric, sending waves of sonic emotion washing over the appreciative crowd.

On a cold January night, this is the kind of music to lift the spirits if not warm the heart, emerging from the frost of winter with a warm fuzz of feedback: there’s no doubt that this is music to close your eyes and breathe to. The opportunity to do it before heading home, rather than to a dodgy chalet, is much appreciated.

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