Last Night: The Antlers, Little Scream at The Loft

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The Antlers, Little Scream

The Loft
June 9, 2011

Better than: Being in some hospice somewhere.

When DC9 spoke with The Antlers' keyboardist Darby Cicci for a piece we ran in last week's paper edition, he mentioned that on the band's new critically acclaimed album Burst Apart, he's carrying more weight than he ever has before. In the interview he referred to the album as an electronic record full of loops and glitches. So it didn't come as a surprise that his keyboard rig at last night's show looked like something from the Starship Enterprise.

Cicci played a big role, both on record and during the performance. But it only took a few songs to become clear that each band member's part carried equal importance. Drummer Michael Lerner played with subtlety, creating the perfect backdrop for Cicci's elaborate keyboard parts and the band's hired-hand guitar player's perfect tone. 

As solid as the band was, the show will be remembered for singer Peter Silberman's pitch-perfect vocals. 

He conjured memories of Jeff Buckley, hitting falsetto notes with ease during moments of ear-drum scraping noise, and on slower parts, his vocals were fragile enough to crack. 

The band's set offered a wide dynamic range, on which Silberman shined at every turn. And just like Burst Apart has a definite arc that takes the listener on a journey, the band's performance followed suit.

They began the set with "Parenthesis," which has the strongest groove on the new record. While it took a while for sound issues to be worked out, this song showed that The Antlers had high ambitions for the remainder of the performance. They touched occasionally on songs from their first record Hospice, which came off brilliantly albeit a little muddy and jumbled at times. But when they played songs from Burst Apart, they were far more clear and expansive. 

"I Don't Want Love" came a few songs in. Slightly evoking U2, the guitar sounded like glass chimes reverberating throughout the small room. Just like the record, "French Exit" came next, receiving the most movement from the audience with its African rhythm. On a slightly extended version of "Rolled Together," the band showed a jam-band side, buzz-sawing their way through melancholy power chords, ending long before the groove would've fizzled out.

The tension on "Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out" was relieved when the band entered the final portion of the set with the peaceful "Hounds." And just as Burst Apart ends, the band left the stage on a powerful version of "Putting The Dog To Sleep." Piercing guitar stabs at the beginning of the song yielded to a cascading guitar line that signaled the end of the main set.

The encore was Hospice-heavy, and wasn't entirely necessary. After all, the band ended their main set on the perfect note, but it was nice to hear "Corsicana" and "Wake."

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias: The Loft isn't my favorite venue in town -- not by a long shot. But this was the best show I've ever seen there.

By The Way: The Cedars Social, located a block away from the Gilley's Complex, has some of the best drinks in town. Head down there early before a show and get your swerve on.

Random Note: I noticed that the TVs above The Loft's bars were only advertising past shows. I thought it was fishy, but booking agent Kris Youmans assured me that some amazing new shows are on the way. Stay tuned to our Wednesday Show Announcements blog post.

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