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Looking back on post-rock shows post the shows being in New Orleans

 

At a glance there don't seem to be many, if any, similarities between Explosions in the Sky (EITS) and the Deftones. Upon closer look though, sure the music and structures vary quite a bit, but there are also a few comparisons that do hold true.

Both bands have managed to carve out significant notches in their prospective fields and play with such intensity and power that at times, you just have to take a step back and completely absorb the moments. Both bands recently played to SOLD OUT crowds, EITS at the Joy Theater and the Deftones at the recently reopened Orpheum Theater. And, it's fair to say that while both shows had their own unique style, they were both visually excellent.

It can be easily said that post-rock as a genre is by far one of the most divisive out there; people really love it or can’t stand it, middle ground is rarely found. When I told a friend that I was going to see a post-rock show, he quipped back, “I didn’t know rock was dead.” My only response could be that it is “far from dead," and that it is more an evolution of soundscapes.
Much like a terrifying beautiful roller coaster ride, Explosions’ set started off slow, but gained momentum. The ups and downs that followed are cornerstones of the post-rock movement. The band released The Wilderness a few months back and the set was a nice combination of new material as well as audience favorites.

Personal highlights for me included the two tracks they played off The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place, “Your Hand in Mine” and the last song of the evening “The Only Moment We Were Alone.” That latter of the two is by far the blueprint for any post-rock masterpiece. If ever there was a way for a song to create an out of body experience, hearing and seeing this one live would be the closest thing. Sticking to their usual structure, there was no encore for Explosions in the Sky set, but I can't even imagine how the magic seen throughout the show wouldn't be enough for the onlookers. To see some of that magic caught on camera, you can view pictures here.

The Deftones released a new album earlier this year, GORE, and could have easily stacked their set with a slew of songs from the album, but they opted to give almost equal play to White Pony, Around the Fur, and Diamond Eyes. Chino Moreno has to be one of the most energetic front men out there, and I swear by the end of the night he must have ran ten miles. With that excitement, Moreno enjoys breaking the forth wall and interacting with his fans.

The light show was one of the best I’ve seen, and the GORE album cover on the back stage wall tied the whole set together. One nice thing about the set from an outside view was the fact that the audience reacted quite a bit the same through the evening to whatever was played, exceptions being the “hits” of course, but those outbursts were pretty much on par with the rest of the evening. If you want to dive into the visuals of the night, you can check out some more photos here.

While the Deftones show was vastly different than the EITS show, the constants that were there held true to the art forms at hand. A compassion for music, loud and raw, had tender moments throughout each set.

Steven Hatley is a New Orleans-based photographer. You can find more of his photography here.