This is Exploding celebrates third birthday with concert

Gabe Gott

To celebrate its third birthday, This is Exploding is playing at the Grog Shop Saturday.

Credit: Ben Breier

Don’t cover your ears! Don’t run for cover! This is one explosion you don’t want to miss!

This is Exploding will be playing at The Grog Shop Saturday to celebrate the band’s third birthday.

Celebrating with them will be Return of Simple, Houseguest and Infinite Number of Sounds.

“We’re always pushing to make our birthday show bigger each year,” singer and guitarist Joshua Jesty said. “We’re also a big fan of documenting our birthday shows, so expect lots of cameras, expect lots of people, expect a bunch of cake to eat and a night with consistently great local Cleveland/Akron bands from start to finish.”

This year’s show will be the biggest one yet because the band has a bigger pool of songs to draw from.

“With every passing year our repertoire grows, and since Cleveland is where we were born, we’re hoping to cover three years worth of our material for the friends, fans and family that’s been supporting us that long,” Jesty said. “The big project we’re working on for this show is finishing up two brand new unperformed songs so we can play the first two songs we ever wrote as well as the most recent just to show the evolution that’s taken place in that time.”

The band is based out of Cleveland and Atlanta. The name This is Exploding comes from a poor English translation of the movie Shaolin Soccer, Jesty said.

They formed when four guys who had just gotten out of their own bands got together to play for fun, he said.

“By the second time we got together I had asked Dan, our current drummer, to sit on the drum stool since the first guy had left town,” he said. “When he started playing with us something just clicked. We wrote a song together in about 20 minutes, played it, and all looked at each other and knew that we had just started something.”

Original guitarist Nick Tolar originally suggested the group should start playing together, Jesty said. He is no longer with the band.

“He played guitar with us for the first year and a half, and by the time we finished recording the first studio record with him, it was obvious he was holding us back and vice versa. So that’s when Evan Wilhelms stepped in on guitar, and he’s been with us for the last year and a half,” Jesty said.

Each band member has his own influences, he said. Jesty’s main influences are The Beatles (especially John Lennon’s material), Sting and the Police, and the Talking Heads.

This is Exploding sounds like a mixture of Pinkerton-era Weezer, the Foo Fighters, Nada Surf and Nirvana.

With their separate but overlapping influences, each member of the band participates in writing the songs.

“We usually develop the main theme or a verse/chorus sort of thing together in the practice space, and then we’ll all take it home and refine it. I’ll write some lyrics to it and put a melody on it, and then we’ll get back together and re-arrange, refine and argue about it for several months,” Jesty said. “The latest batch of songs has taken quite a lot of time, but they’re worth it result-wise.”

The band’s last album, Until the Next Red Light, was released in 2004. The album’s name came from “A Lust Song” and ties together all the themes on the album, he said. The themes are death, grief, overcoming “and for some reason, a lot of driving,” he added.

Jesty doesn’t mind the “illegal” downloading of the band’s music on the Internet.

“I consider it more of an opportunity to preview the record before purchasing it than an illegal download,” Jesty said, “I also think there’s an intensely greater value if people pass the downloaded music around to friends. It’s a great word-of-mouth tool, and I hope one day to look at a Kazaa and find our songs up there. That would mean that people are really into it.”

Another reason Jesty doesn’t mind downloading the band’s music is because This is Exploding is “a very tight and very powerful live ensemble,” he said. “Our live experience is just that, an experience that you can’t get unless you’re there.”

Contact ALL correspondent Gabe Gott at [email protected].