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Concert Review

Explosions In The Sky Concert Review From The Perspective Of A Post-Rock Newbie

By  March 4, 2017

There was a period of time when I used to play Explosions In The Sky’s The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place on repeat as I did my exam revision. It was a semester or two of pure post-rock bliss that aided my dreaded study sessions. I won’t consider myself an avid fan of the band, but when I heard that they were coming back to Singapore, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to catch them live and lose my post-rock gig virginity.

The 3rd of March was not exactly the perfect date for a concert except for a few fans already free of academic obligations. I was greeted with sightings of a man reading a novel, couples cuddling on the ground, and a student who was digesting his economics notes – all making good use of their time before opening act Unknown Mortal Orchestra (UMO) graced the stage. 

 

When you're at a concert but econs is life

A post shared by Muhd Farhan (@zomgfarhan) on

Unknown Mortal Orchestra exceeded many fans’ expectations. The band blew the crowd away with their consecutive mix of R&B and indie rock songs. If Tame Impala, Toro y Moi, and Mac DeMarco all had a lovechild, it would sound like Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

Vocalist Ruban Nielson emitted energy unlike no other. Never have I been so immersed in an opening act such as UMO, despite only hearing their songs a few times on YouTube. This is all thanks to Ruban dancing along to crowd favorites, The World Is Crowded, Multi-Love, and Stage or Screen.

Having been already overcome with a sense of satisfaction after UMO’s set, I was prepared to leave the front of the mosh pit and just watch Explosions In The Sky from the back. But of course, I needed to see the band play at least one of the songs I only used to listen to online up-close. So, I stayed on my spot.

Explosions In The Sky undeniably created an ethereal ambience almost comparable to one floating into space. For most fans in the crowd, it was pure ecstasy, but for me, it was a surprising dissociation from the music. Why wasn’t I captured by their live performance? I had no idea. Maybe live post-rock performances aren’t my thing.

But still, I soldered on and tried to appreciate what was in front of me. Every song played received roaring applause, from their first song Yasmin The Light, to the much-awaited The Only Moment We Were Alone. Who exactly wouldn’t be enthralled by the band’s soft mellow tunes that suddenly turn into heart-racing tempos? Apparently, me, and boy was I disappointed with myself for a moment.

I knew that hearing First Breath After Coma was supposed to be breathtaking (no pun intended) live, but I was shocked by my lack of receptiveness as I stood there unfazed. I really wanted to relish the moment!

My utter indifference, however, was met with guys aggressively banging their heads and fans that chose to quietly appreciate the music with crossed arms and eyes closed. I watched them from afar and realized that perhaps there will be moments where I lose myself completely in a mosh pit as a fan, and there will be days where I just stand solemnly at the side and be an observer – both of which are completely okay.

I left the concert venue with a new appreciation of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, but came to the conclusion that I prefer to listen to Explosions In The Sky from my headphones in the comfort of my own home.

My inability to appreciate live post-rock music made me realize that I don’t have to like everything. I’m still waiting for the time when I can fully immerse myself in such music that would make me go, “Hmm, this makes me feel alive.” But for the mean time, my fondness of Explosions In The Sky will remain solely within the four walls of my bedroom during late revision nights.

 

Setlist

Yasmin the Light
Catastrophe and the Cure
Logic of a Dream
Greet Death
First Breath After Coma
The Birth and Death of the Day
With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept
Colors in Space
Your Hand in Mine
Disintegration Anxiety
The Only Moment We Were Alone

 

Photo Credit: Symmetry Entertainment, @khojennifer, @axelante, & @linsinlohan via Instagram


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