Sunday, March 30, 2008
Explosions In The Sky with Lichens, The Pageant, St. Louis 03.29.08
Comrades: Will tha D (driver of doom), Chris-T (navigation x-ecutioner), Cori (Gamemasta-C). This drive to St. Louis was smoooove as could be, with prime weather and plenty of daylight. On the way, I was impressed and surprised by the sheer amount of over-flooded areas in Illinois...farmlands completely under water, like monstrous lakes. I'm sure that much of the highways were impassable just a couple of weeks back. And I thought my area was bad with the 7-8" of rains! I am only sad that I didn't have a camera. As I've been told, these were 'once in a hundred-year' rains.
Anyhow, we arrived in St. Louie without incident, and proceeded to hit our favorite restaurant on the strip by The Pageant...a little hole-in-the-wall called simply 'Thai Cafe'. After a too-long wait for our food, my Pad Thai was fine (though rather mild), and the Thai iced tea yummy enough. We skipped on over across the street to the club and got right in, even managing to snag prime balcony seats in the center. A most triumphant time! I remember seeing Sigur Ros there the second time (with Cori) and having to share one barstool off to the side. Talk about sore backs..but not this time.
Anyhow, after having some nice draft Fat Tire ales, we watched the opener, Lichens, and his brand of primitive drone/trance rock. The audience mostly didn't seem to care for Robert Lowe and his drifty soundscapes, complete with bird calls and vast waves of sound from only a guitarist, his voice (and sometimes additional guitar), and a stack of effects pedals. I think Lichens' sound is positively transcendent and beautiful, though it seems a large venue like the Pageant wasn't the best setting for such a personal type of music, as evidenced by the crowd growing perceptibly impatient with the non-'rock'-oriented music. After 20 or so minutes, the din of the throng's chattering threatened to overpower the blissfully pure music on-stage. Sad, but true, at least from where I was seated. Lichens set lasted about 40-45 minutes or so.
When Explosions came on, the large crowd was ecstatic with cheers, whistles, and applause. It was the Texan group's first trip to St. Louis, and they seemed surprised to command such a large audience. They tore into plenty of tracks from their various albums, moving effortlessly from the gentle guitar pluckings and melodies to raging torrents of ear-shredding noise. And for a purely-instrumental act, the band exhibit a good share of stage charisma, never going motionless for long and always seeming to give their instruments a solid workout.
If you're not familiar with them, Explosions are a pretty close counterpart to their brethren from Scotland (Mogwai), Iceland (Sigur Ros), or Japan (Mono), though Explosions don't usually pummel quite as hard as the 'Gwai or Mono, and with less preciousness than Sigur Ros. Their extended songs are simultaneously sad and hopeful, and always meditational yet 'rocking'.
Incredible show, really, and as the lady and I took in a couple of Long Islands (each!) after our beers, we got pretty, umm, hammered. A planned post-show trip to a local liquor store to track down some fine Fat Tire (or other New Belgium craft beers) was well-gone and forgotten in our haze. Maybe next time. Live Photo credit:?? from the eits German fan page.