Explosions in The Sky was a band that many concertgoers were experiencing for the first time as they took center stage at the Merriweather Post Pavilion. The venue had not reached capacity but there was an early presence of fans at the concert from the earlier sets and awaiting the bigger acts later in the evening. The setting featured the large Sweetlife banner and a Texas flag draped over sound equipment to homage to the band's home state.
Versatility was shown by band members Munaf Rayani and Michael James. The two group members played two instruments throughout the set, with Rayani adding on drums for certain portions of songs and James operating a bass guitar at times. Whenever the drums were added or the melody changed due to the bass, it was a sonically powerful experience for members of the audience.
The band dove in to their music, which features no vocals, letting their instruments do the talking. The pit featured multiple crowd surfs during the set, with security pulling in the crowd surfers like gutters in a bowling alley. It was a light-hearted affair from the beginning, with band members shouting out a friend's birthday and encouraging the crowd to make bird noises.
The close of the Explosions' set offered a good transition for an event that somehow had managed to avoid a full downpour at that point. Music and mother nature both appeared to be at a stalemate as The Shins prepared to enter the main stage for their set.
The band's followers made themselves known as they rushed center stage to get a front row spot for one of their favorite bands. The Grammy-nominated act commanded the largest crowd of the night up to this point.
The Shins worked together in harmony. The crowd surfs resumed for this set and V.I.P's enjoyed their front stage access as they sang along to The Shins. The Sweetlife festival managed to harness a classic festival feel with two solid rock acts to hold the middle portion of the festival. This diverse grouping of acts mixed crowds of all kinds to enjoy live music.
Photo Credits: LaVan Anderson
Photo Credits: Dustin Whitlow