The Antlers have released two albums to date, “Burst Apart” and “Hospice,” and both have certainly been worthy of repeat listens. The albums harbor another pleasant surprise with every subsequent spin, revealing a previously underappreciated song or a catchy subordinated riff. The stand-out recordings from The Antlers are what made me sure that their show at High Noon Saloon last Wednesday wouldn’t be one to miss.
The Antlers’ records are exciting in part because of their intricacies, and their live performance certainly didn’t fall into the trap of being a stripped-down version of their normally elaborate music. Their songs have stood out because of the way the instrumental parts and background vocals fit together seamlessly, creating what feels like a harmonious fog for Peter Silberman’s soaring falsetto to pierce through. While many have probably attributed this rich sound to the incredible production value of The Antlers’ recordings, the first note of “Rolled Together,” their set opener, would prove the doubters wrong. The Antlers delivered their tunes with all the fullness of their studio work, and with shocking precision. They were largely flawless throughout the night. Silberman was of course the center of attention, dancing around and occupying the stage in a testament to the fact that his talent as a performer matches his talent as a musician. Darby Cicci also had a strong presence, coaxing a surprisingly small array of synthesizers into surrendering the complex, characteristically “Antlers” tones. The Antlers really deliver live.
The audience got a real treat about half way through the set when Silberman and The Antlers road tested some new songs. Silberman’s song-writing ability is nothing to mess with, so getting a window into the evolution of his tunes was a privilege. It was clear that the band was still exploring. They would occasionally repeat themes a few times as if they were trying to gauge their satisfaction with something they’d been working on. Silberman confirmed that these songs were works in progress, telling us “they’re new songs, so the titles change every day.” Even unfinished, they came across beautifully. Based on what I saw Wednesday night, I think we’re in for another polished release from The Antlers.
The show at High Noon Saloon was something of a warm-up for a string of shows that The Antlers are playing with The Shins. If Wednesday night was any indication, those shows will be spectacular.