(First posted on http://www.recessiondodgetovictory.wordpress.com on 16/05/2011)

Disclaimer: As with all my music reviews, this is a blow-by-blow account taken from my own perspective and written mostly for myself as a memory aid. I’m not always an expert on the band in question.

The context of this gig was important to set the atmosphere of what I expected compared to what I got.

It was a Sunday night and myself and 2 of the 3 friends I was with had just come back from a LARP weekend down in Newcastle about two and a half hours away. We were tired and were expecting to chill out listening to the band that had produced “The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place.”

However, we had a few ticket problems. I had forgotten to bring the ticket I had bought and had to buy one on the door meaning I paid double price for the gig. Another of our number had bought a ticket for a friend who couldn’t make it and after hunting for touts outside the Picture House we were surprised to find none shouting to buy or sell tickets. Apparently Edinburgh doesn’t have them! If only the same could be said for London when I wanted to buy a Glassjaw ticket online for a gig in Cambden only to find them sold out and tout sites selling them for double the price…

Despite our troubles, the atmosphere was fairly relaxed,with large spacing between the crowd members. We even had a look for seats, expecting an armchair serenade by the headliners in the somewhat unfamiliar Edinburgh venue that had a similar layout to the Glasgow Carling Academy.

We walked in late to the solitary support act, Lichens, who reminded me of Fuck Buttons in his technique if not his style, as multiple ethereal, loops and layers of music were going off climaxing with the singers’ wailing style hovering above it all. One friend remarked that it was, “music inspired by whales.” Having said that, we only heard one of his tracks before he left the stage so I’m not in the best position to judge the performance.

As we found a place in the crowd I was reminded of Boris whilst we waited as smoke crept in and around the stage through an electric blue light, giving the stage an other-worldly appearance. Unfortunately, this wasn’t maintained through the set and dissipated when Explosions In The Sky took to the set with understated stage presence.

Before playing they gave a brief introduction and thank you to the crowd before opening with “First Breath After the Coma” and taking the crowd into the music.

I don’t remember much of what happened or the songs that were played, or even how many, but I do remember the almost spiritual, uplifting mood of the event. I mentioned before that I expected to relax into the event and although we weren’t jumping around and moving to the music, Explosions definitely aren’t uninvolving armchair music either.

As I stood there, the rest of the weekend and the ticket screw-ups dissipated like the smoke. I remember once how my Mum waxed nostalgic about enjoying trips to the cinema because she felt you could be taken to another place for 2 hours. Although I don’t like films for the most part, having seen Explosions, I can now appreciate how she felt. For the duration of the gig, I was taken to another place. The set lasted from before 9 o’clock until around 10.30pm but it could’ve been midnight and I wouldn’t have noticed.

Although I definitely associate some of their songs with certain events or feelings when I listen to them in the comfort of my own home, I can’t say what I thought as I listened to it live. I was simply taken some place else.

The gig was an experience – that’s for sure and although I can’t really quantify or qualify a value on it, if I had to put a rating on it I would say only this: I didn’t resent paying double price for it.

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