Me being me, I missed Explosions In The Sky when they first came to Singapore in 2013 but in my defense, I had a national exam coming up (excuses). This post-rock outfit just manages to strike a chord with me, and many others I’m sure and there was no way I would miss seeing them in the flesh. There was a particularly large crowd that night, pleasantly surprising the band who didn’t expect so many people to show up (it’s nice to see a band being fully supported by a sizable crowd). They absolutely deserved that crowd, delivering a compelling live performance.
The supporting act, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, was a band that managed to show off their wide range of musicianship during their set, going from slow and psychedelic “Ffunny Ffrends” to the upbeat and dynamic “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”. I’ve heard many compare them to Tame Impala but I think that UMO has a sound of their own with Ruban’s sultry voice that’s full of affection, singing about issues that he is emotionally invested in such as his polygamous relationship. Their music also has a bit more funk that contrasts with his mellow voice makes it more textured and enthralling to listen to. I love the diversity of this band’s discography and it was a blast hearing a passionate performance from the band. UMO and EITS may be an odd pairing but UMO’s soulful and psychedelic sound nicely accompanies EITS’ ethereal music.
Proudly introducing themselves to hail from Texas (their love for the Loner Star State was quickly established by Munaf), Explosions In The Sky put up a surreal performance that was unforgettable. The band is known for their work on the TV show Friday Night Lights, producing the theme song of the show and several songs for the soundtrack. Their music is one that evokes strong emotions in a person, it is notable and memorable without the assistance of words and lyrics. Friday Night Lights has definitely benefited from EITS’s ability to add sentiment to a pivotal moment of a story which what differs the post-rock outfit their contemporaries such as This Will Destroy You, Mogwai or even 65daysofstatic. It’s because of EITS’s straightforward compositions of crescendos and melodies which provides a a sound that is somewhat much more tender in the post-rock genre, resonating with a wider audience (like me).
To hear their music live, elevated those strong emotions, captivated me in a moment of absolute awe. I was engaged in some sort of narrative that was brought to life with the guidance of the band’s music. Even though they’re not a band that gets you pumped with hands in the air, the crowd around me were more than engrossed in a world of their own. It was a varied set list that delighted long-time fans (like my brother who takes credit for introducing me to EITS) with favourites like “Your Hand In Mine” and “The Only Moment We Were Alone”. The band also performed new songs off their recent album The Wilderness like “Logic In A Dream” and “Disintegration Anxiety”. That album took a different direction from the band’s past discography, showing off the band’s experimental creativity. The few songs from the album also contributed to diverse sound in their live performance. My personal favourite from the band, “Catastrophe and the Cure” is a song that has brought me through some rough times ( basically not getting good grades and typical shit like that). The moment I heard it, I immediately relived these memories I’ve associated with this song (I’m sure you can do that with any song but this song specifically has accompanied me through some tough times). Hearing them perform this song live was like having a friend comfort you in a time of need and it was hard to keep my emotions in check (cheesy, but true).
The band played so well with an intensity that left me preoccupied with these uplifting feelings that were still lingering from the concert. Their concert was one that impacted me to a point where I found myself missing the moments of the strong emotions that I had while watching this band play stellar music.
I also kind of miss seeing Munaf sway from side to side, totally focused on his guitar.