the antlers

SXSW Preview: The Antlers

Posted on by Ricky in South By Southwest | Leave a comment

The Antlers, Phoenix, Toronto, ON

Toronto – I saw The Antlers three times last year – opening up for the Editors, at SXSW and opening up for the National at Massey Hall. Needless to say, I am a large fan of their depressing wall of sound music. I didn’t have them slated for my initial SXSW schedule because I thought they were doing that relentless touring thing and that they were still touring for their excellent major label debut album, Hospice.

Luckily, I was wrong (seems to happen all the time) and the Brooklyn trio are back with a new record, entitled Burst Apart. The record is due to drop May 10th off Frenchkiss Records. I, for one, am extremely excited about it and hope for lead singer Peter Silberman’s sake that it’s not as much of a downer as the previous one was. The Antlers will be premiering their record as part of NPR’s showcase at The Parish in Austin on March 17th at 4:00pm. They’ll also be playing many other sets. Here are all the set information

Wed, March 16 @ 12:00am: Frenchkiss Showcase
The Parish – 214 East 6th St
w/ The Dodos, Young Man

Thurs, March 17 @ 4pm: NPR Party
The Parish – 214 East 6th St
w/ Tune-Yards, The Joy Formidable, Colin Stetson

Friday, March 18 @ 7pm: Sennheiser Party (<- any chance of free headphones?)
The Stage on Sixth – 508 E. 6th St
w/ The Luyas

If you are in Austin, check these guys out.

The Antlers – Two (Buffetlibre remix) by Buffetlibre

Festival Review: Lollapalooza 2010, Grant Park, August 8 – Day 3

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment

X Japan

Chicago – What’s a music festival without a little rain?  Well … it’s a nicer day, for one thing.  Luckily, the rain ended by 1:00 making the rest of the day pleasant and sunny, albeit a bit muddy.  However, being a guy who wants to get the most out of a music festival, I was there bright and early … in the rain. 

The Antlers got the Budweiser stage going for the day.  Having seen them once before at Massey Hall, I wondered beforehand how their lush, moody music would go over in an outdoor festival setting.  Of course it went over perfectly … because of the rain, not in spite of it.  Frontman Peter Silberman put it best: “Thanks for coming out in the rain.  We’re from New York so we’re used to it.  We’re  not really a surf pop band so this is probably better.”  They played to a smallish but rapt audience, some with umbrellas, some without, but even those without didn’t mind getting a little wet.  The Antler’s set led to the only real scheduling mix up of the day.  As they finished playing “Two,” I figured their set must be done as they had like 2 minutes left in their set and The Antlers definitely do not play two minute songs.  As they launched into “Wake,” I thought, “Hmmm… how will this play out?”  They continued to play, going slightly past their set and into that of The Dodos, who were playing the stage right across from them immediately afterwards.  The Dodos, not wanting to lose out on their alotted time, just started playing at the same time.  I’m sure this wasn’t an intentional snub on the part of The Antlers, and for all I know they had to start their set late, but it was a bit of a blemish on an otherwise well organized schedule. 

The Antlers

I wanted to check out The Cribs for one primary reason – to see Johnny Marr play.  Not being overly familiar with them, I figured it would be a good set, but it turned out to be really good.  They won me over with their high energy performance.  Definitely one of the highlights of the day.

The Cribs 

The other big highlight of the day as well as a pleasant surprise was X Japan, a Japanese metal band formed in 1982 who play an interesting mix of power metal, prog, glam metal and old school speed metal.  In other words, they stuck out like a sore thumb on the bill. 

They broke up in 1997 and are currently on a reunion tour.  This was their first ever American show.  I knew very little about the band going in and was a little bummed that they were on opposite Yeasayer, who I really wanted to see, but I figured I can see Yeasayer again and I’m fairly certain I won’t get a chance to see X Japan again.  And what can I say?  This band was glorious.  They pretty much match Lady Gaga and Empire of the Sun for over the top theatricality.  As they entered to some piped in intro music, a small group of dedicated hardcore fans cheered loudly.  Shortly thereafter, many more of us were instantly converted into fans.  My favourite bandmember to watch was drummer Yoshiki, who entered wearing some sort of robe, wore a neckbrace throughout the show, and switched between drums and piano.  He also performed on the 1994 Kiss tribute album Kiss My Ass.  I bought that album on cassette back then and thought, “Who the hell is Yoshiki?”  Now I know.  Rather than say too much about their performance, I’ll just let these videos of their performance do the talking.  “We Are!” “X!”

After X, I figured I’d stay in that vicinity and check out Erykah Badu.  Big mistake.  While I was interested in seeing her and while she sounded good when she finally came out, little did I know that she wouldn’t even grace us with her presence on stage until 15 minutes into her set!  Those 15 minutes were filled first with her DJ playing other people’s music to warm up the crowd (which is fair enough since the Japanese metal that preceded her probably didn’t fit the mood she wanted to create, but still…) and her backup band jamming on some tune for awhile.  Had i known she would take this long, I probably would have gone to check something else out (which I eventually did).  Badu would later reappear onstage with Cypress Hill during their set, and Cypress Hill put on a great show.  Opening strong with “How I Could Just Kill A Man,” they played a mix of old and new songs, including classics like “Insane In The Brain.” “I Wanna Get High.” and “Hits From The Bong,” the performance of which actually involved them taking hits from a bong onstage.  

Cypress Hill

MGMT played just before Cypress Hill at the other end of the park to one of the largest crowds of the day.  While Sarah wasn’t overly impressed with their performance at Coachella, and Ricky echoed those sentiments after seeing their most recent Toronto show, I would have to say that my opinion differs slightly.  Looking a bit like mid ’60s Bob Dylan, Andrew VanWyngarden led the band through a selection of songs from their latest Congratulations, plus a few older tunes.  The songs sounded good, and the band was tight.  I couldn’t see anything wrong with their performance … but I do agree somewhat that it was still a bit of an underwhelming performance for me at least, probably partly because I was looking forward to Cypress Hill, Soundgarden, and Arcade Fire and partly because they weren’t as over the top as X Japan. 

I split the rest of the night between Soundgarden and Arcade Fire.    Both bands delivered solid sets that satisfied for different reasons – Soundgarden primarily as nostalgia.  As I watched them play I had forgotten how heavy songs like “Jesus Christ Pose” and “Gun” sounded.  Sadly, I left to catch the last part of Arcade Fire before they played Black Hole Sun, but there’s a whole bunch of videos of it on youtube anyways, so I guess that’ll do.  Arcade Fire sounded great too, closing out with a few classics like “Rebellion (Lies),” “Keep The Car Running,” and “Wake Up.”  You guys are great,” said Win Butler, clearly impressed with the response he was getting from the crowd.  “Usually at the end of festivals, people are burned out, but you guys must have been pacing yourselves.”  It’s all about moderation I guess.

Soundgarden

Concert Review: The National, June 8th, Massey Hall

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything | 3 Comments

Toronto – Welcome to part 2 of my review of Tuesday night’s show. Part 1, featuring the Antlers, can be found here

Fake Empires, Mistaken For Strangers, Bloodbuzz Ohio, Albel, Lit Up, Karen, Mr. November

These are the songs from the National I can name off the top of my head. Needless to say, I am not overly familiar with their material. However, I know a hot ticket when I see it, so when the National announced they were playing two shows at Massey Hall, I felt like I had to go. I had gotten myself acquainted with most of the bands material before the show, but like that random stranger you meet at a house party, I could only scratch the surface of what the band was about before the show.

First of all, let me tell you, Massey Hall, your basement bathroom area is a death trap during intermission. If there was a fire, everyone down there will DIE. No clue why I thought about this during that time, it’s probably the effects of aging.

Anyways, shortly after 9:20, the band took the stage to a rapturous applause. I was surprised by the size of the band, when I saw them at the Horseshoe back in the day, they were a much smaller band (and also, they still claimed to be from Cincinnati, instead of Brooklyn). Accompanying them was a horns section and a multi-instrumentalist named Padma. He played violin, piano and all sorts of stuff. I can confirm that having a horn and strings section really helps add depth and amplifies the sound. Makes songs sound more epic. I like epic.

The band started off with the track Runaway, off their new album, High Violet. The stage had some nice lighting for this song, including two shiny disco balls set on the floor that provided some trippy effect. Sadly, they never utilized the disco balls again. Matt Berninger’s baritone voice carries so well in Massey Hall. The song was quickly followed by fan favorite Mistaken For Strangers and then another new song, Anyone’s Ghost, to which he said

Matt: The following song is a new song. Wait.. so was the first one. Nevermind

I found that to be rather humourous. After the third song, the photographers had to scram (usual 3 song photo limit) and sensing that this might be a sit down show, Matt quickly went into the crowd encouraging everyone to stand up, and as usual per Massey Hall show, everyone then made a beeline for the front. On a side note, I know a few of my respected colleagues are concert photographers, but it is pretty funny watching them scurry around each other when you are far away. Just sayin. They do a good job though.

The rest of the 2 hour set consisted of the band taking much of material from their most recent albums. As a casual fan, I was impressed at how good they sounded, but some of the songs did sound kinda-samey. I guess this is what you get when the lead singers delivery is so unique. Having said that, Berninger is a great front man, he has good crowd banter, is intense when he needs to be and humourous when the moment calls for that. He can scream the hell out of the microphone as well. I think in another life, Matt Berninger could have either been a college professor or a ship captain.

Highlights for me included all the songs I knew and especially the song Abel, which featured Matt heading directly into the crowd on what must be the world’s longest microphone cord. He could have went to Frans and ordered a corn beef sandwich if he wanted, the chord was that long. He would later repeat the trick for the encore performance of Mr. November, which I had mistaken told Paul was called ‘Ms October‘. Yup, music expert here!

All in all, a great night of music at Massey Hall. My ears were ringing. I thought Massey Hall had volume control, so I didn’t bring earplugs, but let me tell you, it was definitely worth it. Go check them out tonight. They might play Lit Up.

I shazammed all the songs while at the concert to come up with this play list.

Runaway
Mistaken For Strangers
Anyone’s Ghost
Bloodbuzz Ohio
Secret Meeting
Slow Show
Squalor Victoria
Afraid Of Everyone
Little Faith
All The Wine
Available
Conversation 16
Apartment Song
The Geese of Beverly Road
Abel
Daughters Of The Soho Riots
England
Fake Empire

90-Mile Water Wall
Lemonworld
Mr. November
Terrible Love

About Today

Just kidding, I got it off setlist.fm

The National – Conversation 16 by wereofftherails

Concert Review: The Antlers, June 8th, Massey Hall

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 4 Comments

Toronto – Just like a really long Quentin Tarantino movie, I’m breaking this concert review into two parts.

The other day, whilst at work in the middle of some hardcore coding (my day job), something dawned on me.. Tuesday night will be my fourth time seeing The Antlers. Have I seen any band more then four times? I then quickly switched to this site, took a look at my concert list, did some thinking, did some counting, and quickly realized – no, I have never seen a band more then 4 times in a row. I then checked my fantasy sports teams, read some random wikipedia articles, watched some 80s tv sitcom intros on youtube, made some snarky comments on people’s status updates on facebook, wrote a post on the blog and then I went back to more hardcore coding. It’s so weird to think that Tuesday night was the fourth time I had seen the band the Antlers, seeing how at this time last year, I had never heard of them. I believe it was Allison who first realized how good this Brooklyn band was, and how great their debut album Hospice was. I was then slowly converted, ever so skeptical of my fellow PM writer’s musical taste. Well, as it turns out, she was right and I have taken to this band like a mongoose to a cobra.

So Tuesday night was my fourth time seeing the Antlers. They were at Massey Hall opening for The National. I had arrived earlier then expected, and thus was able to soak in the atmosphere of a somewhat empty Massey Hall. The architecture in that place is quite nice. I like the nice arching roof. I was reminded of that fight scene in Bioshock. You know the one. The band took the stage shortly after 8 to a pretty empty crowd. It was a good thing that the lights were dimmed because then the band could imagine that they were playing to a packed house. Much like a horse with blinders.

The band played a stellar 45 minute set, featuring the songs from Hospice. It was great to hear them in the Massey Hall setting, because unlike their quiet-ish album, the Antlers live set consist of a massive wall of sound. There is a constant feedback kinda sound (much like a jet engine) throughout the set save for the more tender moments (Bear, some parts of Two). The set seemed to start off slowly, as the band was feeling their way out on the massive stage. Massey Hall’s stage is a large space, especially for a 3 person setup. They seemed to hit their stride with the song Bear, which as always, was great. The outro for the song featured about five minutes of noise layering on top of more noise that tested the volume limits of the venue. I think the crowd who didn’t know the band was in kind of shock over the amount of volume that the threesome was generated. By this time, the place was starting to fill up.

Their standout track Two followed shortly after. As I had stated in my sxsw review of this band, this song live is a bit different then on record. The song starts off with a choir-ish oos before the music plays and then is followed by a brisk chance of tempo that moves the song along at a much quicker pace then that of the album, still really good. Ending the set with the song Wake, the band delivered a great and heavy set that wowed anyone who was there, as evident by the massive applause that they got after their set.

I don’t think you can ask for anymore for an opener.

The Antlers – Bear by gpferrero