Twenty years after four musicians met in West Texas to form what would become one of the better-known instrumental rock bands of all time, Explosions in the Sky finally stopped in Taos County Sunday …
Twenty years after four musicians met in West Texas to form what would become one of the better-known instrumental rock bands of all time, Explosions in the Sky finally stopped in Taos County Sunday night (Sept. 22) for a packed show at the Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership.
For its milestone anniversary tour, the Texas rock quartet brought along Sessa, a Brazilian singer-songwriter, who before debuting his solo work this year was best known as a collaborator to New York guitar legend Yonatan Gat or as co-founder of São Paulo psych-funk combo Garotas Seucas.
Sessa opened the show on the brewery's indoor stage with an hourlong set showcasing his contemporary Brazilian style, playing speedy guitar licks on a nylon guitar and singing in his native Portuguese, supported by a trio of backup singers and a percussionist.
Explosions took the stage to the sound of whistles and cheers from a crowd that's waited a long time to see them perform in Taos County. The quartet, which has since added a fifth member to the mix, opened with "A Song for Our Fathers." The nearly six-minute song begins with co-founder Michael James scratching rapidly at his electric guitar strings to simulate the sound of a military helicopter's blades chopping the air. It eventually moves from its quiet, stirring intro into a distortion-heavy section, with four guitars layering melodic riffs over one another and drummer Chris Hrasky pounding out a rhythm in the haze of a colorful light and fog display. The band's name originates from a remark Hrasky made about a fireworks show the quartet saw upon recording their first set and recorded track, "Remember Me as a Time of Day," in 1999, when the group was founded.
The band's hour and a half set was as much a retrospective of their earlier albums, recorded in the 2000s, as an exhibition of their more recent work (their last full recording, "The Wilderness" was completed in 2016). Many of their songs have been featured in major films, such as the 2004 film, Friday Night Lights, and 2013's Lone Survivor, along with numerous television shows and commercials.
While their more recent work has seen what the band has referred to as a "refinement" of their earlier sound, it retains their signature stop-and-think composition, where in the absence of lyrics, thoughtful instrumentation carries the narrative forward.
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