(image via dailyrindblog)
The Antlers seem painfully shy. I met them walking to their show outside of the Casbah in San Diego. I wished them a good show, and Peter Silberman looked at me with a sorta smile and said thank you. It wasn’t a rude look, it was more like a “I just play music” look. Darby Cicci spent the time before they went onstage standing alone at the bar, staring at the space in front of him. They played an amazing show. It was loud, intense and heart-breaking. They didn’t say much. After the show, they quietly packed their gear into their van, avoiding eye contact with fans.
And I often wonder how they are able to go out every night and play songs off their 2009 album about relationship and loss, Hospice. It is easily the most emotional album I’ve ever heard. And apparently it was inspired by Silberman’s own experience as a nurse in a cancer ward. I mean, how do you night after night relive something so painful? And to share something so intimate with strangers who might not understand the full gravity of the situation. It’s hard to imagine.
But the live Antlers show is something else. Their music becomes a post-rock powerhouse, with each strum of the guitar and each key of the KORG synthesizer amplified and distorted through a series of pedal pushing. Yet with all the noise and the fuzz, Silberman’s voice takes control. His falsettos tear you apart inside and the story he tells brings tears to your eyes. You have to hold one hand in the other because each is shaking. You close your eyes and the music and his anger and sadness coarse through your body. Your spine is tingling and the hair on your body is standing. You clap between songs to show your appreciation, but you’re not sure if clapping is appropriate after this man has just poured his heart and soul out to you. You also want to enjoy the silence, because you are a wreck.
After the show, you are in awe of the spectacle that just happened. Yet, there is a sadness in you that makes you feel alive.