THE STAGE at Leeds Beckett Uni Students’ Union has long been a favourite venue for Leeds clubbers and gig-goers. Once called ‘grungier than Stylus, but not as corporate as the O2’ (high praise indeed), it’s an unpretentious backdrop for onstage action - sticky floors and fried food aromas notwithstanding.
Come prepared to be swept along in an emotive journey through ambient electronic soundscapes
On Saturday 8 October the venue welcomes Texan post-rock veterans Explosions in the Sky for a night of vast, immersive soundscaping as they introduce their latest album, The Wilderness.
The quartet have built a hardcore fan base that’s been constantly growing since they broke onto the scene in 2001. They’ve sold out venues as impressive as NYC’s Radio City Music Hall and Blighty’s own Royal Albert Hall, drawing thousands of punters at a time with their immersive live shows.
Recognisable for guitar-driven epics that have lent themselves to many a film and TV show, their brooding, cinematic pieces build patiently over time to astonishing wall-of-sound crescendos. This is performance that forces pure feeling on the listener - introspection, lamenting the one that got away, or imagining oneself in dramatic scenarios straight off Friday Night Lights (yep, they’re behind that spine-tingling soundtrack). It’s the kind of music that tugs at your insides, as you’re sure you’ve heard it somewhere before but can’t quite put your finger on where.
It’s been five years since Explosions in the Sky released their last record, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, to universal acclaim. The Wilderness - released this April after a bit of a hiatus - had critics divided. Some claimed the band had lost their way, but the majority noted that rather than straying from their usual path, the band really just turned their gaze slightly inward. The Wilderness steps boldly away from the traditional post-rock approach towards a fresh, more subtle sound.
So, what to expect from this gig? While you can reliably look forward to big hitting oldies like Your Hand in Mine and The Birth and Death of a Day, their recent circuit of shows has delivered new offerings in spades. Come prepared to be swept along in an emotive journey through the ambient electronic soundscapes of The Wilderness.
It’s true that their otherworldly past albums have been suited to spaces that are dauntingly grand, but with the latest release it feels like time for a return to a more intimate venue. Explosions in the Sky’s bewitching stage shows create a reverential atmosphere - the kind that has you forgetting about the lukewarm lager clutched in your hand as you stare, stock-still, at the stage and wonder just how they do it. The Stage might not be the Royal Albert Hall, but when the music gets under your skin like this, none of that pomp and circumstance really matters.
Explosions in the Sky, Saturday 8 October, Leeds Beckett Univeristy Union. Tickets Available from SeeTickets.