As members of ’90s emo band Texas Is The Reason slowly walked out of the dark to their instruments at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, you could hear the dense, spiderwebbing guitars of their one instrumental, “Do You Know Who You Are?,” issue from the speakers in neat overhead streams. The stage was traced with small circular lights, as if powered by tiny, diminished suns. During their two-show 2006 reunion, the band were enhanced by dynamic, interweaving spotlights; this setup felt as if they were consciously creating a new environment, tended by warmth.
Guitarist Norman Brannon played the opening chords of “Antique”: a few drifting chords that seem very near one another, that feel naturally related, like bodies of water. Garrett Klahn sings in one note that sounds painfully excavated; it resembles a stream pushing gravel. All of the band’s music has a watery aspect, actually—each song gives off the sense that it will feed into a larger or smaller embodiment of itself. The final cascading riff of “Back And To The Left” is indistinguishable from the main riff except that it has an entire song behind it, an anchor from which it lifts. “A Jack With One Eye” is an actual whirlpool. It has a turning center, a massive circling riff. They play it last and people in the audience arc their entire bodies to it.
Members of a band have to be extremely tuned to each other to play hardcore; it’s a specific kind of tightness. Play too fast and unlock from one another; the result is less a song than spillover, a swiftly unravelling gesture. [...]