Sunday, 29 November 2009

The Antlers - Live Review

Acts: Official Secrets Act,
The Antlers and Graffiti 6
Location: Southampton U.K
Venue: Lennons
Date: 28/11/09

We were determined to catch a much anticipated performance by the Brooklyn based band The Antlers, whose Hospice album has been a slow burning success story of 2009 via the patronage of Pitchfork and it's ilk. It was self-released back in March 2009 and went on general release via French Kiss Records in August 2009. This short visit to the U.K has now catapulted the band's presence into the national arena with the national journos from The Times and The Guardian clambering on board to give it the horn.

Those journos have covered the London and Brighton legs of the tour, but it's up to the intrepid team here at Scratchy Buckles (myself and Platterhorn) to battle through the lashing rain in order to cover what must be the least prepossessing stop off on their jaunt around Europe. Yes, we're talking about being second on the bill in sodden Southampton's favourite student cheap 'n' cheerful nightclub Lennons; thankfully nothings changed in the years since I was last here frugging to the sounds of Britpop back in the 199o's (stop me now! before I turn into a voxpop for one of those cheapo 'I remember the Nineties' type of late night T.V fillers) and it promises to be a good honest intimate gig at this venue which is putting on some interesting gigs of late.

First up though, with their chance to make a mark on the wall of sound, was Graffiti 6 who put in a credible performance for the early birds. They're buoyed up with the gift of delivering a catchy tune in that genre that's tricky to master, i.e the soul/rock/pop crossover. Their breezy number Stare Into The Sun was used as part of a promo for a television ad promotion for The Sun newspaper back in Summer 2009. This must have been a useful boost to their fledgling career and it came as a surprise to us, when they mentioned at the end of delivering a polished and engaging set, that this was their first live gig.. The first of many successful performances I'm sure! and a band to keep an eye on.. a tip though, if I were you guys, I'd leave Liverpool off the tour list for the time being..

Graffiti 6 - Stare Into The Sun

The Antlers are a young trio from Brooklyn New York, who spent 2007/8 putting together a concept album of epic and haunting music. Lead singer Peter Silberman delivers aching soft vocals, interwoven with emotionally wrought crescendos, that turns the emotional screws to devastating effect. Michael Lerner’s sparse drumming plays off Darby Cicci’s downbeat keyboards to produce a taut post rock sound straddling between fragility and intense sonic outbursts. Their debut album ‘Hospice’ is a concept album about a carer looking after a girl who is terminally ill with cancer. What could have ended up a maudlin self indulgent mess is actually brooding and beautiful triumph, which is destined to be on many of the pundits 'Best of 2009' album lists.

It's clear from the opening chords that the band are going to pretty much play the songs through in the order of the album and so unfortunately the spine tingling opener the epic Kettering gets lost in the general hullabaloo of the crowd settling down. These guys obviously get swept into the intensity of delivering the songs with all their heart and soul and this means that the stage craft of commanding of the audience is slightly overlooked and so it takes a few numbers for them to capture the undivided attention the the crowd. This may be down to their inexperience or having to play to punters who haven't necessarily come to check out this band but slowly and surely the waverers are won over, as each song ramps up intensity of the atmosphere in the room. The more accessible uptempo numbers of Sylvia, Bear and Two in particular resonate with the crowd and as The Antlers' set draws to a close, it's clear that we've witnessed a very special show by a mesmerising and very talented band who are destined to make a considerable impact with their majestic music.

The Antlers - Kettering - taken from the debut Hospice on FrenchKiss Records Get it here

The video is unofficial and created by a fan using various photographs Original photographers listed here but has been compiled with such T.L.C that for me it's the definitive version and as good as anything the record company could put together.

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