For more photos, see "Explosions in the Sky @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery."
"We're called Explosions in the Sky, and we come from Texas," says guitarist Munaf Rayani before the band bursts into a sprawling set at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It's the last amplified voice we'll hear for the next evocative hour.
The band conjures up the plains of West Texas, and not just because Explosions have provided soundtrack music for both the movie and TV adaptations of H. G. Bissinger's Friday Night Lights. The melodies take you down the interstate, ferrying you nowhere in particular, and just when it feels like too much of the same, too much rich dirt, too many pretty guitar riffs, up pops a bluff, a thrash metal chord progression, a misspelled redneck sign, a frenetic drum beat, the sky turning deep red and then black.
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The Austin foursome, joined at times by an extra dude on bass, riffed through a typical set on Saturday night, urging the crowd on the cemetery lawn into unspecified emotional directions. The whole experience was chthonic, and not just because the sound of strings and skins were floating across the plots of dead celebrities. There's something murky, maybe deep, about the feelings brought forth by the songs of Explosions in the Sky.
Overhead there were no eponymous pyrotechnics, but the tall palms of Hollywood Forever did sway to the beat. As the wind picked up near the end of the set and the trees swung closer and closer together, it was easy to imagine them yearning for a connection that could never quite be. They were pretty all the same.
See more photos at "Explosions in the Sky @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery."