Marmiteboy - Urbane Warrior.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Explosions In My Pre-Amp.

Explosions In The Sky - Live at The Astoria, London 19th April 2007

Having had to cancel two UK shows in Manchester and Glasgow because bad weather had caused their flight to be cancelled from the US, the audience were more than ready for Explosions In The Sky. First however, we were treated to a fine set by Bristol band Gravenhurst. Jock Pop, Charlie Brown and me had tried in vein to see this band on a couple of occasions, the most notable of which was a trip to Hamburg where they were supporting Belle and Sebastian. The club they were playing in doubled up as a fetish club which meant that the music had to be over by 9.30. Gravenhurst went on at about 6.30 and as a consequence we missed them. The band played well, despite a shitty mix from the mixing desk and set us up nicely for the main event.

Explosions hail from Austin Texas and are about as far removed from the country music associated with the state than you can get. They are like Mogwai, mixed with a dash of Godspeed! You Black Emperor with a dash of Sigor Ros (albeit a more ballsy version) chucked in for good measure. However, they are far from a copy of the above, they have their own sound of aural magnificence that, at times, blew me away.

The band started in a fairly unusual way for a band playing in such a large venue. Most bands you see like to come on stage to rapturous applause before kicking off their first number, but Explosions wandered on, set up their effects peddles and guitars and just started playing without the usual fanfare. It was a refreshing change. On the subject of effect peddles, I have rarely seen so many. Mark Smith and Munaf Rayani had at least 15 peddles between them. Oh and how they used them. They are at times gentle and beautiful before soaring up and er, exploding in the sky!! At times this was an astonishing show and is one of the best things I've seen in a year or so. The band are all fine musicians and a big shout must go out to bassist Michael James who played his bass as fast as I have ever seen. If he wasn't using a pick he must soak his fingers in surgical spirit over night to stop his skin failing off.

The gig was nearly brought to a premature end when Munaf's pre-amp (the orange one pictured left) started smoking in a very alarming way. This brought huge cheers from the crowd and saw Munaf drop his guitar pretty damn quick. Another amp was brought from back stage and the last tune was belted out, although it must be said that Munaf did keep glancing over his shoulder should he be in danger of being fried.

If you are a fan of thoughtful, melodic, instrumental and above loud music, then check this band out. You won't be disappointed.



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