Published Aug 04, 2013Tasty textures, rocking drum fills, and a dazzling light show were just three of the reasons why Texan post-rockers Explosions in the Sky performed what was likely the best set Osheaga 2013 had seen thus far. Beginning and ending as a quintet, with three guitars, one bassist, and a drummer, the instrumental rockers proved they didn't need vocals to drive their lengthy songs, with all the guitarists playing clear, calculated riffs to provide ample sources of melody.
During the middle of the set, touring bassist Carlos Torres stepped offstage, and guitarist Michael James picked up the bass for some fast and furious picking. The songs were seven- to ten-minute-long soundscapes that shifted and evolved, never getting stale, and the band navigated through any changes expertly. The band members engaged in no banter between songs, instead allowing the denouement of one song to slowly transform into the intro of the next, but the visual spectacle was present in the form of the lights, bursts of colour that accentuated the music.
During set closer "The Only Moment We Were Alone," a quick flash of lightning provided the perfect natural accent to a song that rapidly changed from quiet and airy to a blast of noise that rocked more than any peal of thunder ever could. The set was hypnotic, and all seven songs moved and pulsated due to the synergy of the musicians, creating a stunning spectacle that demonstrated visual and sonic excellence throughout every single moment.