The club was full, but wasn’t packed. Post-rock promotes swaying, maybe some casual head-bobbing. No pushing or shoving was involved at Wednesday night’s This Will Destroy You set at the Electric Owl. Plenty of elbow room. With the red curtain drawn and an ambient white noise building up pre-show tension, we stood like pegs in anticipation. Feet anchored in place and focused on the front. The curtain opened, and there stood four dudes from Texas.
Stage antics were minimal. The projector screen at the back of the room, shooting distorted patterns morphing against the background, produced the only real form of visual stimuli. The band kept it pretty low-key too. Absent expressions gave the impression that they were bored.
Promoting their latest release, Another Language (2014), album single “Dustism” was a natural choice during their set. TWDY played continuously, with songs bleeding into each other –peaks and valleys of calm, serene music followed by heavy-hitting crescendos. Beautifully engaging music suited for a dreamscape. Conducive for meditation. Demanding silence and ultimate respect from the crowd.
“If you could all treat this show like you’re at the movies that would be great…”
The whispering in the crowd had become a problem worth addressing for guitarist Jeremy Galindo.
“If you have something important to say, then feel free to leave the fucking show.”
The crowd hushed. Some whoo’d in agreement. A pause followed.
I understand Galindo’s frustration. You work hard to share this beautiful moment created by your music best experienced in complete silence. To hear some dude in the front row babbling about how stoned he is probably isn’t going to help your performance or “flow,” as he called it. That being said, it’s hard to lecture a crowd without coming off as a prima donna which, unfortunately, he did. My perception of the band’s absent expressions, after that moment, unfortunately, switched from boredom to pretentiousness. Smileless faces, angry at the low hum of the crowd. Though, it took some balls to tell a room full of people to, basically, shut the fuck up.
The crowd respected that, I guess, as everyone obeyed Galindo and kept the chatter to a minimum after his speech.
Diva talk aside, TWDY’s set was truly beautiful, akin to their Texan brethren, Explosions in the Sky. Their set was seamless, each song morphing into another. Highs and lows. I can only imagine how the babbling stoner in the front felt. Pretty fucking great, I bet. The opera-like sanctions bestowed upon the Owl weren’t a deterrent to the music. At points I just closed my eyes and pretended I was in an open field somewhere… in Iceland, probably. Scandinavia, for sure.
TWDY put on an entertaining show. With such little movement, standing for an hour straight, I would expect my feet to hurt. I was too enthralled by the music to notice any foot pain. The quiet helped me concentrate. Thanks, Galindo. Thanks, TWDY for a beautiful set.