Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean

Before leaving Paris, I watched an Explosions in the Sky concert, a Texas-based instrumental band that comes up with the most affecting melodies you’ll ever hear in your entire life (and no, I’m not exaggerating.) The concert was sold out by the time I found out they would pass by Paris, so you can imagine what a little ball of nerves I was until my concert ticket finally arrived in the mail.

Their music is purely instrumental (2 guitars, sometimes 3, a bass, sometimes without, keyboards, sometimes without, and drums), which means that it is wonderful but equally frustrating, because every time I listen to them I always want to sing along but can’t, so during the concert I did what everyone else was doing — bob my head and hum along (Side note: this is the problem with opera as well; there are words, but it”s impossible to sing along to.) There was nothing fancy about the concert, none of those smoke machines or light shows — if anything, there were a lot of snags, like the endless feedback, loop machine problems, a missing keyboard cable or the distorted bass; but no one cared.

They did sound checks themselves, chatting with the audience. When they discovered that they were missing a cable, a band member went off to find it himself.

They closed the show with the song The Only Moment We Were Alone, a 10-minute song starting from nothing that builds up a tornado of melodies and ends in an orgasmic shower of feedback and guitars being smashed to the ground; by the end of the song, the audience, eyes stinging with tears (from the song and the cigarette smoke) burst into wild applause and started shouting for an encore.

The band never did do an encore, because of course they had ruined some of their equipment and there really was a problem with the bass amp. Munaf Rayani stepped up to the microphone. “We’re sorry for the mistakes in tonight’s show, but that’s how it is, and that’s how we are.” No need to apologize — we forgive you.

Currently listening to:
The Trials of Van Occupanther

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