Texas post-rock quartet This Will Destroy You returned to Philadelphia for the first time since 2019 and brought with them a full performance of their landmark third album, Tunnel Blanket. Considered among the “Big Three” of the post-rock genre along with Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai, the album really cemented TWDY in the hall of post-rock greats when looking back at it retrospectively thirteen years later.
Philadelphia’s own renowned producer, engineer, and musician Jeff Zeigler opened the night, with him and his bandmate Dash producing analog synthesizer interplay on top of psychedelic wordless vocalizations. Zeigler and Dash took us on a synthesizer odyssey through space, meandering throughout otherworldly soundscapes as they fiddled with knobs and plugged and played away with wires, building tones and spaceship sounds layered on top of each other in a meditative dance. Christopher Tignor took the stage next, and acted as his own one-man band through the use of his laptop, along with an array of instruments like a violin, a bass drum, various triangles, a cymbal, and a tuning fork. Tignor notably creates the software on his laptop that he uses as a tool to build his soundscapes for his live performances. Also of note is that he provided the string arrangements on This Will Destroy You’s “Tunnel Blanket” thirteen years prior. Through the use of his pedals and laptop, Tignor used loops to paint luscious sonic scenery with his analog instruments on hand, like passionately bowing notes from his violin or hitting a tuning fork against a triangle to almost form a pulse-like beat in tandem with his bass drum and violin. Classical at the ear’s first listen, Tignor’s work leans more into the experimental and post-rock the longer his set went on, like a one-man post-rock introspective journey.
This Will Destroy You then took the stage for the main course of the night, a performance of their 2011 album, “Tunnel Blanket”. The album was notable at the time for being quieter and more subdued than their first two albums, with a focus leaning more towards drone and shoegazing than traditional post-rock. Though containing no lyrics, like most great post-rock albums, this leaves us to assign our own meaning to the cinematic, epic instrumental songs.  “Tunnel Blanket” is oft-cited as being about the process of death. Throughout the course of the album’s 60 minutes, the band took us on a heavy-hitting journey, starting with the epic, 12-minute song “Little Smoke”. Guitarist Christopher King broke a guitar string almost immediately during the first song due to its soaring intensity, and miraculously, the show went on unfazed. King, unflinched by the setback, seemingly just simply transposing the swirling guitar builds up the neck of his guitar instead. ​​​​​​​Cathartic is one word that comes to mind to see a band in top form take us through the stunning swells and peaks of the album’s highlight tracks like “Communal Blood” and “Black Dunes”. The band ended the performance of “Tunnel Blanket” with a triumphant version of the album’s final track, “Powdered Hand”, before exiting the stage to wild applause. The band then returned to the stage one final time to encore with the song “Weeping Window” from their 2018 album, “New Others Part One”. The night comprised of energy on both sides of the spectrum, from calm and meditative self-reflective journeys to even headbanging, with even one audience member starting a single-person mosh. The beauty of post-rock is finding your own meaning in the instrumental sound and fury. Almost like the soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t exist, the music leaves you exiting the show reflective about your own life and the cinematic peaks and valleys that accompany it.
By Dave Avidan
June 26, 2024
This Will Destroy You
Christopher Tignor
Jeff Zeigler

You may also like

Back to Top