Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Antlers: A Concert Review

In opposition to college, this year has been a slow year as far as concerts go. Not that there's been a shortage of them, it's just that I don't have a boat-load of scenester friends to encourage me to hit up the latest shows. So while I was debating whether or not to go to The Antlers concert last night, I had two options: I could go to the concert alone and count it as a low-point in my post-college, post-friend life, OR, I could go to the concert alone and count it as a celebration of my independence. I guess I'll go with the latter.

The Antlers are an indie band from Brooklyn, New York (which is where just about every indie band is from nowadays). They put out an album last year titled, Hospice. It's sort of a "sad elegy for a dying friend" type of an album that critics eat up. The album commonly has moments of naked emotion that are often coupled with the lead singer's wanderings into falsetto-land. The album also has quite a few moments of just noise. Enough so that it really annoyed me while listening to the album, but!, I kept coming back to it largely due to some of the more melodic songs (i.e. Two). I really wanted to go to the concert in order to make some sort of final verdict on the band.

The concert was held at Ann Arbor's The Blind Pig, a venue I had previously never been to before. It has a cool bar/small concert feel to it and, according to their website, was Nirvana's favorite venue at which to play... so that's kind of awesome. Anyhow, a band called Phantogram opened. Comprised of a male/female duo on guitar/synth (respectively), the band used pre-recorded drum loops, a lot of reverb on their vocals, and a strobe light to create some pretty stellar dance-ish music. My life wasn't changed or anything but they had a cool sound that, after their final request before their final song, had the crowd dancing. Here's a short video:
Next up, The Antlers came on stage. They only have the one full length album and an earlier ep so I was familiar with just about all of the music they played (which is always nice). Overall, they put on a good show, transitioning from bare vocals to loud noise rather well. The emotive feeling their music evokes translated well to a live performance. Unfortunately, their drumming was a bit choppy and they commonly played their songs just a little bit different from their album. For one, they never pulled out an acoustic guitar (sorely missed on their single, Two). Secondly, they have some great synth interlude parts to their songs that they just didn't hit as solidly as they could have. Both of these things hurt the performance in my view as they didn't achieve the range of sound the album covers. With my grievances expressed, I do think they put on a good performance.

Here's an acoustic-free, Two:
After they finished their set, they left the stage for about 30 seconds, then came back on for the encore (I hate when bands leave for a long time... as if they're not coming back). They played two more songs, the first of which was a cover of The xx's VCR, a song I really love so I was pretty excited about that and forgave them for any misgivings I had with their performance. (The (crappy) video is below.) So they finished on a high note and overall, it was a good Friday night. Check them out if they come around your part of town.

No comments: