Show Review: The Antlers @ The Parish (7/20)

photo 1While it seemed that the release of their most recent album just a little over a month ago wasn’t garnering them much buzz around the Internet, The Antlers still lined up a sold out show at the Parish for a Sunday night. They brought along Montreal’s Thus Owls to open a night full of enchanting waves of sound and powerful lead vocals all around. Read on for more after the jump.

                  Coming in without doing any homework on opening bands is always a toss up, but sometimes it’s nice to be pleasantly surprised and just let yourself soak in what a group has to offer in a live setting without any preconceived notions. Thus Owls did a fairly good job of winning me over, with their dramatic, semi-rock opera tunes that came across slow at first often, but building to fleshed out and interesting endings. Lead singer, Erika Angell, made her powerful vocals known from the beginning— a mixture of yelps and folksy meanderings through the instruments around her. The crowd seemed a little confused as to how to receive this psychedelic folk blend, but gave the band a warm reception by the end of their set. It was a good opening set, but set a hazy and slow tone for the evening, which showed at points.

Next up and without much wait time in between was the act that the antsy and chatty crowd came to see, though this proved to not really change their behavior. The Antlers opened with “Palace”, their lead single off Familiars, and Peter Silberman, wielding his guitar and pristine vocals launched into the song. While simple, these new tracks really show just how far this group has grown and evolved over the past years as well as held on to their core elements that make up their group dynamic. The horns, omnipresent in their collective works have transitioned into this dark and smooth, noir rock glaze that the band has picked up and ran with since their Undersea EP release and is found all over on Familiars.

Continuing into the set, we were greeted with a majority of new songs, as expected. The result was entrancing for the most part, with guitar, vocals, keys, drums and horns all culminating to bring to life the new tunes for the audience. Though, as my main complaint with the newest effort was the lack of diversity in the tunes, the night was a little slow at points and the songs seemed to bleed together a bit. However, on the contrary, the live version of tracks such as “Parade” brought the track to a new life, with Silberman’s voice bringing the simultaneous vulnerability and power that Antlers fans have long grown accustomed to.

Of course they spiced in some older tracks, including the emotionally jarring “Sylvia” from Hospice and closing with “Putting the Dog to Sleep” from Burst Apart. To me, these were treats to hear Silberman really shine in his translation of truly cutting lyrics accompanied by the rest of the band in full force. While I was a little hungrier for older tunes in the midst of the slower-moving new tracks, there were still several moments in the evening that I was taken aback at the grace of this band and the gorgeous sound they’ve transitioned to.

Post Show Shout outs—To those who film the whole set with your iPhone/iPad… I will never understand you. To that girl behind me who screamed bloody murder six times in rapid succession in between songs, I hope you’re ok. To the loud show talkers who were five feet from the stage and felt like blabbing about what festivals you’ve been to through the whole set, you disgust me.

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