The Antlers at The Horseshoe in Toronto

24 September 2009


Brooklyn trio, The Antlers played to a full house at The Horseshoe on Thursday September 24th in Toronto. Their quiet/loud dynamic worked well in a live setting and the crowd greedily devoured it with their ears — ears which the next morning would still be ringing from the cranked speakers at the Shoe. Nevertheless, the trio played a tight set, relying heavily on the strongest tracks from their debut album “Hospice”. They opened the show with “Bear”, which immediately drew the crowd in, as Peter Silberman crooned in his eerie emo falsetto, slowly building towards the song’s powerful kick. It definitely started their set off with a bang.

At their best moments, I found myself thinking they sounded like shoegaze heroes Ride, while at their worst, I couldn’t help think that Silberman’s voice was veering off into Thom Yorke territory with his uber-emotive oooh’s and ahhhh’s. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but overall, I like listening to their album at home more than I enjoyed their live show. Part of the reason for this might be because the album is conceptual, meant to be listened to from start to end in its entirety, and their live show diffused the stirring emotion of the album by playing it out of order. Still, this is all purely subjective, as I’m sure others would say the show absolutely kicked ass and made them want to laugh and cry and give Silberman a big hug.

The Antlers are still a fledgling band, and I think they have the skills to surpass the simple grandeur of “Hospice”, but they really gotta stop listening to “The Bends” right this very instant, because the rest of the world forgot about it years ago. I guess I’m just afraid they have the potential to turn into schmlatz if they’re not careful, and this would be a bad thing for a band that’s got a good thing going.

I unfortunately missed opening band Arietta, but I did get to see most of second-billed Holly Miranda, who played a beautiful set of sparse and angular southern-tinged rock and roll. Comparisons to Cat Power and perhaps Stevie Nicks will no doubt abound, and that’s because Miranda’s voice is achingly beautiful and full of range. I think seeing her in a venue where no one is talking throughout the set would be really quite moving. Still, I was glad I was introduced to her music, as I’d never heard of her before the show.

All in all ’twas a good night. Peace.


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