I’m having a really good week. I ran my very first 10k this weekend; my best friend just moved to town; the weather is beautiful; and there are some delicious things going on in my personal life. And the fact I had tickets to see one of my all-time favorite bands playing at my favorite venue last weekend was the cherry on top. I couldn’t have been more excited to kiss the sun goodnight, throw on a new dress, and head downtown.
By the time we arrived at the National in Richmond, the opening band The Octopus Project had already cleared the stage, and the sold-out crowd was hot and antsy and, from my five-foot-six vantage point, annoyingly tall. Heavily tattooed college kids jostled for space, and girls in brand new sun dresses tittered anxiously. The energy enveloped us as we all seemed to hold our breath together.
The truth about all Explosions in the Sky fans is that whether you’ve been listening to them for just a few weeks or for the better part of a decade (like me), we’ve all connected to the music in our own way.
When the curtain opened on the four stark figures bathed in blue light and guitarist Munaf Rayani made his minimalist introduction, it was like 1500 people collectively let go of that breath we were holding, relaxed into the music, and let each note carry us away. It’s such a cliche that I’m almost embarrassed to say this, but I swear to God, you can practically hear the big Texas sky in every chord of every song. That’s probably why they used Explosions as the theme song to Friday Night Lights. It’s no secret that there’s a visceral, heart-rending, perhaps even emotionally-manipulative quality to their music – Chuck Klosterman once wrote:
“if you play Explosions in the Sky loud enough,
the process of hanging drywall can be a life-altering experience.”
What struck me instead was the deeply private experience that the band created, even in a vast, crowded space like this. My friend expressed it best when she said she felt like she could close her eyes and float a million miles away. When she said this, I noticed many heads bowed down, with hands folded under chins or eyes closed as if in prayer, imagining another time, another place. I hope the artists on stage felt it; I hope they humbly realized the power of their music.
Then, I closed my eyes too and journeyed to Texas….
Their new album “Take Care, Take Care, Take Care” comes out on April 26.
Los Angeles fans, Listen Up!
You will get the privilege of hearing their new album in a totally unique way on April 23. They’re taking over the Hollywood Cemetery and installing art that was inspired by each song. Admission is free if you RSVP here. 8pm-11pm. If you go please take pictures and let us know your experience!
While we wait for the new stuff, let’s reflect back on a classic.