On the Goe: Explosions in the Sky members tell stories with their guitars

It starts with a Fender guitar, sometimes a Stratocaster, sometimes a Telecaster. Occasionally, it’s the forgotten Fender Tornado.

Whatever the case, it’s six strings tensioned perfectly between the headstock and bridge. A long black cord loops the nylon strap and connects the guitar with a myriad of effect pedals.

The pedals are connected to each other via a labyrinth of wires, one of which snakes its way back to a humming amplifier, adorned with the Texas state flag, just to the left of an idle drum kit.

There are no vocal microphones or any elaborate stage backdrops. It’s a relatively simple band setup, no distractions, no barriers between you and what really matters most: the music.

This is the pre-show setup for Explosions in the Sky. Really, it’s just a collection of instruments waiting their turn to speak. It’s the quiet moment before the storm or, more accurately, the preface of a great story.

You likely have heard their music before, though you might not realize it. Fans of the documentary and/or the TV show “Friday Night Lights” will instantly recognize Explosions’ highly composed symphonic sound.

It’s a sound totally unique to the rock world, and it will be on full display Friday, April 6, at the Mesa Theater and Club.

You see, Explosions’ band members are storytellers. Not with lyrics, they are unnecessary, but with their ringing guitars.

The benefit of not having lyrics is you don’t have an egomaniacal front man telling you what to do. Instead you, the listener, hold the power.

Explosions will take you there musically, and then it’s up to you to decide what to feel.

Explosions’ band members are expressionist artists adding layers upon layers of guitars, building six-minute narratives, each encapsulating a human emotion. Like a good story, you can feel their songs advance, moving toward the climax. When the band comes together in a crescendo of epic beauty, their songs take full form.

Although Explosions can wail on a guitar right up there with the best of them, each song is a carefully crafted piece. This is no mindless jam band noodling.

The difference between good and bad guitar playing is note choice. Explosions’ has exceptional note choice.

Explosions’ band members have a great reputation as live performers, and I can’t wait to see them for myself.

It’s amazing to me that they can play their complex and beautiful music nearly note for note live.

Of all the announced shows in and around Grand Junction, this is the one I’m most looking forward to. It’s going to be incredible.

To see a band that plays massive festivals, such as next week’s Coachella, in such an intimate club setting is going to be an experience. This is the type of live music I’ve been starved of growing up in Grand Junction.

A current rock band at the height of its popularity, with legitimate street cred and praise from all the major music magazines, that makes records I listen to in my personal time and that is playing a show here, in Grand Junction?

Finally! Time to feast.

When those amps switch off from stand-by mode and the first notes ring out, I and my friends will be in the front row, captivated by one hell of a story.

The only question is where will you be?

David Goe is a programmer for KAFM 88.1 Community Radio. His show airs at 9 p.m. the first Friday and first Saturday of each month. You can email Goe at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or follow him on Twitter at @David_Goe.


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