I got some news the other day that was both highly exciting and frustrating.
I’m pretty sure I’ve raved about them before in these haloed pages, but in case I’ve not already done so, Explosions in the Sky are probably my favourite band at the moment, purveying some astoundingly beautiful, powerful, emotive instrumental post-rock. Just two or three guitars, which slide from nerve-tinglingly subtle to melancholically furious; with a deep, emotive heartbeat coming in the form of pitch-perfect drumming.
No voices, no singing, no words; only the simple beauty of raw music. Indeed, the way you’re drawn to hang on every note and drumbeat makes Explosions in the Sky all the more evocative, poetic and thoughtful than any lyrics could make them.
Anyway, I have always imagined that a live EITS gig would be an incredible experience. And thanks to a few dates that help celebrate their tenth anniversary, that experience might be a reality. The band, who are from Texas, have various American dates lined up, but two European ones in September have naturally caught my eye.
One is in Dorset, in the south-west of England, at the End of the Road Festival, of which I’d never previously heard. It sounds fun – a slightly more grown up festival, with a claim that bands normally do longer than normal sets, which is very enticing. However, Dorset’s a bit of a bugger to get to from Inverness, and there appears not to be a day ticket option – and I doubt festivalling by oneself is the best way to do it.
The other date is Antwerp, in Belgium. I’ve been there before, and while I love Belgium generally, I found Antwerp to be particularly compelling – the great architecture, food and beer the rest of the country is famous for, but with a cosmopolitan, compelling edginess that gave it an Eastern European feel. It’s a fair distance away too, and it’s a midweek gig, but with the sleeper to London and the Eurostar to Brussels, it’s not an impossible journey.
The third option I have is to hold out. Explosions in the Sky’s website suggests that there may be other gigs added quite soon. Do I wait and see, and pin my hopes on a gig that is in an accessible place at perhaps a less busy time of year work-wise?
The risk is that there are no better dates, everything sells out, and I end up not seeing them at all. The other risk is that I endure a ridiculously long journey to a far-flung gig only to find that they’re playing Strathpeffer Pavillion.
Well, almost certainly not Strathpeffer Pavillion, but you get my point.