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Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, February 3, 2006, Music

Explosions in the Sky

Emo's, Jan. 27

According to Explosions in the Sky guitarist Munaf Rayani, the first time they played Emo's, it was for seven people in the front room. Last Friday, the local quartet made good on selling out the Sixth Street mainstay venue in a week. As a helicopter swooped overhead, its searchlight spying on the packed outdoor throng, the group launched into their opener, a chunky, sonically crushing cosmic wheeler. The next song was more sympathetic, Explosions showing off their mastery of the mushroom-cloud formula, which begets the next song, "Let's Start Off Quiet and Then Build to a Crushing Crescendo." Adding to their highly-skilled dance of sonic tides and lulls was a cadre of drunken young men screaming "Fuck yeah!" and high-fiving like the band just gave them tickets to the Super Bowl. Not that they noticed; the band was too busy melting the rapt crowd's faces with minor keys and a trembling low end. As they careened into the ending squall of rhythm, Rayani, guitarist Mark Smith, and bassist Michael James headbanged in unison, as though infected with some voodoo curse, while drummer Chris Hrasky created Explosions on his drum kit. The audience waited for the encore, but when Rayani returned to the stage, he announced an appropriate end for their sad, cathartic music: "That's all we've got."

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