Show Review: Antlers @ Emos (6/7)
As the heat beats down upon us, it’s always nice to find yourself enthralled in a decent evening of carousing with the locals, especially if said shenanigans include a night filled with incredible musical accompaniment. I’m pretty sure that’s what all of us got over at Emos on Tuesday night, with Antlers and Little Scream giving us just what we needed.
Dressed to kill, Laurel Sprengelmeyer took to the stage just after ten, accompanied by two enthusiastic gents, making Little Scream a trio for the night. While heaps of praise were thrown upon her excellent debut, The Golden Record, it’s odd that more great press hasn’t come her way, especially considering the show she put on at Emos. While the sound from her album sounds mostly acoustic, and what some might consider soft, she tossed that all aside, bringing an edgier side to her tunes. Discordant strings, perfect pitch control of her vocals, and a fair amount of movement seemed to take many by shock. It’s not every day someone walks in to Emos and totally quiets a very impartial crowd. Personally, the vocals sounded great, but you could always ask for a little more volume. But, I left (as did our photographer Brian Gray) wanting to go back to The Golden Record, letting it spin again into the night.
After witnessing the brilliance of Little Scream, I definitely was anxious to see how Antlers were going to pull the rest of the evening off. While I immensely enjoy Burst Apart, not to mention Hospice, there’s a quiet element to their work, which occasionally doesn’t translate to the live setting. This would be far from what we received on Tuesday night. As they opened with “Parentheses” from their most recent work, you could tell that there was a bit of a bounce to their step, and the negative space, usually left empty, was filled with the ringing of guitars (as the band now carries a bassist/guitarist). What first caught my ear, was their ability to shift quickly into other songs, as they did by moving into “Kettering,” seemingly without pause at all. Okay, I get that there’s a jammy element to that, but dammit if it wasn’t pulled off to perfection.
As the band progressed, spending a great deal of time with Burst Apart tracks, something struck me, something I hadn’t quite caught in the recorded material: Pete Silberman’s vocals remind me of Jeff Buckley. I know they aren’t precisely the same, and not even remotely in the same musical genre, but as he belted out songs like “Hounds” near the end of the set, it just kept popping up in my head. Whether you like him or not, every one can probably respect Buckley’s ability to captivate an entire audience on his voice alone, and such was the evening spent with Silberman. Every time his voice rose and fell, a sense of something greater than myself filled my body. Such performances are rare from many vocalists, so it was definitely appreciated.
All in all, the energy from the band, and their ability to add a little bit of force to the Antlers sound, provided every one in attendance with a spectacular night. True, the majority of the set rested with Burst Apart material, though the 2 of the 3 encore tracks reside on Hospice, but that didn’t take away from the band’s execution of the live performance. Besides, while some of us may love a certain record, I’ve come to realize that many bands just get tired of playing the same old songs, especially two years after hard touring. If you were at Emos, odds are you left loving both bands, and if you weren’t, just go buy their records, as both bands were worth every bit of the fuss.