Explosions In the Sky's Instrumental Magic Crowns a Near-Perfect Evening

Explosions In the Sky
The Lawn at White Oak Music Hall
August 21, 2016

Concerts can make or break a band.

Some artists can’t recreate the magic they conjured in the studio when they’re onstage; others blow their records out of the water and are capable of producing something intangible, a feeling that surpasses a typical live performance.

Fortunately for Houston fans, Explosions in the Sky falls into the latter category.

As the pale coastal skies overhead transitioned from light to dark blue Sunday night, the Austin-based quintet illuminated the stage with its own lights, which ebbed and flowed in harmony with the intensity of the songs.

Shadows were bent in the light, giving the impression that the fog machine was producing perfect squares and enormous Xs as fans supplemented the fog with plumes from their cigarettes and vaporizers. (And whatever else they might have been exhaling.)

Despite a rainy forecast, the Lawn at White Oak Music Hall was brimming with fans Sunday evening. Luckily, the precipitation never arrived and Explosions were able to perform about 90 minutes of their genre-defining, atmospheric “post-rock,” uninterrupted by pesky Houston weather trends.

Fans were entranced from the moment the band arrived onstage, swaying back and forth as they enjoyed an uncharacteristically cool August evening. Before the show, conversations were had about the band’s place in music. Be it the perfect soundtrack to a movie, background noise that helped students focus as they wrote term papers or the ideal sound for a night in with some herb, everyone had a dwelling for Explosions in the Sky’s music.

As is customary at Bayou City concerts, a few arguments were overheard about the volume of the crowd. But besides a little too much chatter from fans, Sunday was a perfect evening.

The unexpectedly cool night air combined with ethereal instrumentation and the overall friendly atmosphere made up for the occasional shrill laugh that rang out through the night air, and WOMH successfully put another notch in its belt as the newest venue in town.

Personal Bias: I’ll never forget the first time I saw Explosions in the Sky live, headlining the first Free Press Summer Fest. It remains one of my favorite concert experiences.

Random Notebook Dump: I really should get around to watching Friday Night Lights.

Overheard In the Crowd: "The see-and-be-seen crowd is here." "More like the see-and-be-heard crowd."

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