Sunday, 3 February 2008

Explosions In The Sky @ Manchester Academy 1, January 29th

I was full of anticipation for this gig, a new venue for me in Manchester and much hype surrounding EitS as a live act. Of course, as the band produces such beautiful and professional albums I was fairly hopeful that they wouldn't disappoint but I was still a bit nervy for this one.

The opener was Eluvium, an ambient solo artist from Portland, who builds up quite intense and heavy musical soundscapes using mainly his trusty Fender, a keyboard and his looping pedal which he would be lost without! Eluvium is someone for listeners with utmost patience and he was very appropriate for this support slot, brooding and building anticipation for the main event. However, aside from the relatively short 'Radio Ballet', I don't think he is someone who I could listen to while just at home.

Around 9 o'clock the spectacle begun with the guys from Texas entering to a rousing applause from the huge Manchester crowd. They played a set which spanned all material although there was a lot of focus on the latest effort, 'All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone', with most tracks being played from that. As well, there were some classics from 'The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place' with 'First Breath After Coma' being a particular highlight, the marching drums and jittery guitar riff combining to create such an amazing staccato sound. As I was promised, the sound was excellent and this goes for both the band and the venue.

An extra bonus for me was the bands tremendous stage presence. Bassist/Guitarist, Michael James, an ever present in the centre of the stage, flanked by the guitarists either side, Mark Smith being the epitome of cool and Munaf Rayani, his complete opposite as he twists and turns. Before them lays an absolute abundance of pedals and processors, which I'm sure they used to effect as the gig was simply breathtaking. Last mention goes out to the drummer who, aside from being solid as a rock, is the glue that brings EitS together with his never predictable, but always suitable style.

Explosions In The Sky: The Birth and Death of the Day