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The Antlers Finish the Year at Home

December 16th, 2009

The Antlers – The Bowery Ballroom – December 15, 2009

The Antlers - The Bowery Ballroom - December 15, 2009
As the year draws to a close, reflection is both natural and expected. The desire to contextualize events focuses our understanding of the past. Notably, in 2009, numerous bands rose to prominence by way of file sharing and blogs. These ever-expanding media outlets continue to expose music listeners to a host of new artists and groups. Among this year’s breakthrough performers, the Antlers, with their sophomore record, Hopsice, are an immediate standout.

With honest narratives and beautiful vocals, the album effectively captures the emotional toll involved with terminal illness. Consequently, the band and disc have garnered many fans and much praise. What is refreshing is that this does not appear to spoil the Brooklyn trio. During their packed show last night at The Bowery, frontman Peter Silberman earnestly and graciously proclaimed, “This is hands down the best year of my life.” It was abundantly clear that he and his bandmates, drummer Michael Lerner and keyboardist Darby Cicci, embraced their homecoming after a rigorous year of touring.

Admittedly, it felt a bit strange to see Silberman share such personal songs in the public realm. To go from the intimacy of experiencing the album on headphones to watching the Antlers live is a bit jarring. For their set, they carefully worked through the majority of Hospice, injecting distortion-saturated breaks between songs, which seemed overdone at times. But it appeared to engage the crowd throughout the show. The best moments came when Silberman’s vocals soared above the cymbal crashes and ambient melodies. The band transformed the folk-rock ballad “Two” into a powerful electric version, and much of the set shared this sonic quality, soft-to-loud musical movements. It is this dynamic that captures rise of the Antlers. —Jared Levy

Photos courtesy of Jen Macchiarelli | www.jennylow.com