Explosions In The Sky over Morgantown Monday
Published: Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 06:06
"Hi," said Munaf Rayani, one of the guitarists for post-rock band Explosions In The Sky as he looked out over the sold-out crowd at 123 Pleasant Street Monday night, during one the last stops on the group’s North American tour.
"We’re from Texas, thanks," he said in a meek, unassuming voice for someone whose band was about to transfix the entire standing-room-only crowd into a collective trance.
For a band that said little more than hello and goodbye to their audience, EITS were able to make their unique brand of cinematic instrumental music convey enough emotions to speak for them.
The group, which is comprised of three guitarists and a drummer, seemed to operate like a well-oiled machine with parts equally dependent and independent from one another.
The music of EITS, much like that of Indian Raga music, is full of peaks and valleys. A typical song starts with a few moments of quiet introspection, followed by dramatic passages of rising action, which leads to a resolution in cacophony of the cathartic climax.
During the nearly two-hour set, the previously animated crowd was lulled into fervor of gentle swaying and rocking. Many audience members had their eyes closed and their hands convulsed at the ends of their wrists as if uncontrolled. It was as if instead of watching a band perform, the audience was attending a Southern tent revival and had become moved by a higher power.
"Emotional" seems to be the word most people use to describe how EITS’ music makes them feel. But with such vast soundscapes and sonic visions, it’s difficult to lay your finger on exactly which emotions they are playing on, or how such a powerful reaction can collectively be elicited from a group of people simply witnessing something together.
Depending on which audience member you asked, the music might have been powerful, deeply sad or joyous.
The point is, for the few hours the band played, the audience felt something. By the mere token of witnessing it, the crowd was moved. That’s what great art does, and we are attracted to it because it offers us the chance at a genuine emotional connection to another person. While their contemporaries are reducing music down to programmed sequences and math problems, these guys are writing wordless operas and exciting motionless ballets.
"We’ll see you all again, another time on another night," Rayani said before leaving the stage.