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Review Wed Jul 02 2014
There are plenty of ways to look at death and loss, but rarely is it ever as deeply touching and beautiful as the way The Antlers look at it. Over the course of five albums, they have managed to successfully mine these issues for every bit of their emotion. The results have been amazing, creating sonically breathtaking and enjoyable works about some of the worst moments in life. This weekend at Lincoln Hall, The Antlers took the stage to show just how magnificently they can represent the saddest moments in our lives.
The show opened with Brooklyn's Yellow Ostrich. The band recently released Cosmos, which lead singer Alex Schaaf joked as being the soundtrack for the hit TV show. That sense of fun emanated throughout their much of their music, despite some more somber lyrics. "How Do You Do It" speaks of a someone who gets through countless failures, but the instrumentation felt joyous. However, there were moments where Yellow Ostrich matched their songs earnestness. The use of electronic drums on "Ghost" and Schaaf's tremendous guitar gave the song an epic feeling. The slow and lovely pace of "I Know You are Lost" was accompanied by a venue shaking bass that wrapped around the crowd. They ended their set with "Shade," which places Schaaf's fantastic vocals in the forefront.
As the lights dimmed to a devastating low, one could certainly feel a quiet but burning longing for The Antlers to find their way to the stage. The set up was surrounded by four metal structures, lit up in various colors. Quick glimpses of them brought a surprising mystery to their origin. Their visages changed with a turn of the lights; shifting between taciturn bird cages, jellyfish when the lights sprang blue, and hastily drawn incandescent light bulbs of eras past. It was a display that elegantly embodied the emotions ofThe Antlers' songs . They came to the stage with a welcoming applause that settled with a strong awe of reverence, leaving multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicci to graciously remark at its calmness.
The Antlers music is filled with an aching melancholy. Peter Silberman's lyrics have been as beautiful as they are distressing. Their newest album Familiars, which they played in its entirety, continues down the path of utterly gloomy lyrics that are undoubtedly pleasing to the ear. "Doppelganger" flowed with its extended moments of instrumentation, delving in to an almost jazz like mood that could not be shaken. Silberman's stage presence is at times stoic but endlessly determined, performing his songs with the seriousness they deserve. Even when pointing out the courage in an audience member wearing cardboard antlers or joking that this was "The World Cup of Antlers" after fumbling the opening of Undersea's "Drift Drive" twice, the band preserved a sense of decorum that was constantly appreciated by the audience's response.
Between the tender applause and songs laid stillness in the crowd that added to The Antlers ambiance. Occasionally the appreciative silence was interrupted by much too eager fans, drunk past the point of reason, but their screams and yells were positive. Luckily the fervently voicing of their inebriated approval never over took The Antlers restless songs. Peppered between the Familiars songs were more than welcome tracks from the infinitely sad Hospice. "Kettering," "Sylvia" and "Epilogue" spread throughout Lincoln Hall with ease, touching everyone their unbridled grief. Despite the heaviness of all the Antler's songs, Silberman has created them with an insurmountable beauty.
For the encore, The Antlers performed the bookend songs off Burst Apart. "I Don't Want Love" rang out with a magnificent timbre, professing its anti-love sentiment with reckless abandon. "Put your trust in me/I'm not gonna die alone/I don't think so" sang Silberman during "Putting the Dog to Sleep," ending the night with it's warm, delicate embrace.