Off Beat Music Guide

Concert Review: Explosions in the Sky April 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — bethstephenson84 @ 7:15 pm

Where: Amos’ Southend, Charlotte, NC

When: April 3, 2011

I have struggled on where and how to start this review. There’s so much to say and no real starting place. This is, of course, perfect irony for a band whose songs have no lyrics.

So I guess I will start with what I loved the most. What I loved about this band’s live show is the same thing I love about this band: they allow you to experience music. Without lyrics, the songs can become anything you want them to be: sad, lovely, painful, joyful… and the list goes on. It’s this kind of ownership that transports you right back to where you were the first time you heard it, or the first time you really heard it. And it becomes about that moment only.

Since the first time I heard it years ago, “First Breath After Coma” has been my favorite EITS song. I know, what an epic title, right? But when you listen to it, it really is the perfect title. The song starts with the eerie strums of a guitar that sounds like the increasing beat of a heart and explodes into the palpable excitement of life and rediscovery. It’s exactly what I imagine a first breath after waking up from a coma would feel like.

And this is what they do with all of their songs; they take a moment and give it life. And surprisingly, this magic translates pretty well to their live show.

I will get my gripes over with now. I’m not a fan of Amos’ Southend. Unless you are one of the lucky few to get a front row or balcony spot, you aren’t going to see anything. The sound mixing is a little rough too, and while I thought that was usually left up to the musicians, I had the same experience when I saw TV on the Radio there a while back, so it might be bad acoustics.

Bad acoustics weren’t enough to stop EITS from putting on an amazing hour and a half show though. I think it speaks volumes about a band that they can play to a packed house in Charlotte, NC without singing one single note. In fact, from other reviews I’ve read, these guys are used to playing sold out shows. It just goes to show the power of bold, talented musicians.

I was most surprised by how personal the concert felt, despite the full house. There were a couple of moments in the set that were so beautiful that I sort of forgot that anyone else was there. I can’t say that’s ever happened to me before at a concert.

The setlist spanned their 6 album discography, but the unquestionable crowd favorite was the painfully sweet “Your Hand in Mine”. I imagine many tears were shed in Amos’ during that number. (And I’m sure that’s a welcome change from the other bodily fluids I bet normally float around Amos’.) I just grossed myself out.

Here’s the setlist run down:

  1. Postcards from 1952
  2. The Birth and Death of the Day
  3. Your Hand in Mine
  4. Last Known Surroundings
  5. The Only Moment We Were Alone
  6. Catastrophe and the Cure
  7. Let Me Back In
  8. Greet Death
  9. Trembling Hands

Yep, you read that correctly; there was no encore. Big time bummer.

Here are a couple of videos I shot at the show. It’s certainly not the same as being there, but you get the picture. Enjoy!

Postcards from 1952

Your Hand In Mine


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