Resident bad ass, Christian Skoch, gives you fine readers his overwhelmingly amazing experience in written form of the Explosions in the Sky concert that took place at the Pageant on Saturday, March 29. ROCK!

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When I learned the Explosions in the Sky concert last Saturday wasn’t sold out, I assumed that it would be one of the less crowded Pageant shows I had been to. I mean, who would go to a concert to hear compositions that are more conducive to studying or sleeping than rocking out? Apparently everyone. This is why I was also surprised to find out there were no assigned seats, or scarcely any seating at all. I guess the only thing I was right about going into the Pageant was that I was in for an epic experience.

The opening act for Explosions in the Sky was Lichens, the stage name for a man named Rob Lowe. He plays as the bassist for the math rock band 90 Day Men who turned to his solo project for more collaboration opportunities and more room for expression in live performances. His performance was indeed quite remarkable. It consisted almost entirely of wordless, looping, effected vocals while his guitarist played along. The unique set began with him sitting in center stage recording and looping what would eventually become a chorus of birds using just quiet whistling through his teeth. From there it went to loud, distorted guitar and harmonic vocals overplaying each other. I say it was unique because if he played more than one song, the audience was not aware. When his performance seemed like it was transitioning to a new theme, or he paused for a few seconds, there was no applause as the audience was entranced in silence. I lost track of how long he kept us captive, but I’m sure it was more than half an hour. He could have kept us for an hour and a half and I would not have noticed the difference.

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When Explosions in the Sky took the stage, there was a short introduction by the guitarist Munaf Rayani. He introduced the band and gave a shout out to a few family members, and began to play. There were no banners, no elaborate stage props and no bombastic lighting. In fact, it was one of the more empty stages I’ve ever seen at the Pageant. It consisted of simply a drummer in the back and two guitarists and a bassist in the front. The stage may not have been flashy but the music was loud. I would describe it more as thunderous rather than obnoxiously deafening. Every time the bassist hit the lower notes I could feel it in my chest. As they played I realized more and more that my studying soundtrack was really more of a series of epic masterpieces that were just as intense as any other band I had seen; and they play with an energy that make their compositions incredibly interesting.

I call them compositions because they are much more than normal songs. The driving rhythms, grand harmonies, and admittedly quieter melodies give you the feeling that you are watching an art form at its finest. In fact, a character in the crowd five or six feet from me was so moved he felt the need to conduct, with his hands, most of the performance. If I had been by myself or even if I had no one behind me trying to see I may have done the same thing. As it was, I decided not to be ridiculous. It was enough for me to motionlessly enjoy the great artistic form that Explosions in the Sky expresses so well.

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