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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Review Wed Jul 02 2014

A Night of Devastating Beauty with The Antlers

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.

yellow ostrich.jpgThe 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.

yellow ostrich1.jpgAs 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.

antlers1.jpgThe 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.

antlers.jpgBetween 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.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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