Mondays are my day in the office, and my office is in London (Kingston, technically). It’s a 4.30am start to catch a train at 6.
Many of my mornings on the train are soundtracked by The Antlers. There’s something about their music that sounds excellent as you’re speeding through countryside in the dark early hours.
This Monday that was the case, and I was shattered from my day by the evening when I got to experience the band in person.
So it was a bit like the manifestation of one of those early mornings, only standing up in a crowded former community hall. I could have curled up and fell asleep on the floor regardless, had it not been for the spectacle of the band.
The Antlers are unlike any other band I can think of. Despite the fact they made my favourite album of 2011, I had never really paid attention to who the band comprised. On this evening there were four members on stage, with Darby Cicci and… someone else essentially taking the place of about three extra band members each. Both musicians spend most of the show playing if not two instruments (and often it is two instruments), then at least making two different sounds at once, if not three.
There is no bravado to The Antlers music, whatsoever. It is purely aimed at achieving beauty, switching between soulful, introspective and ambient. No other band I’m aware of really achieves all three of those elements, and to achieve that scope with only four people on stage is amazing.
That said, it was very clear that they did not think this was their greatest show. There was occasional feedback via the sound system which while it wasn’t terrible and did get sorted, did seem to rattle the band. At one point early on where Darby seemed to stomp offstage. He returned very quickly, and whatever was the issue was it was obviously addressed. Then Peter Silberman began to apologise for the quality of his voice, explaining he had been battling with an infection. Frankly I’m not sure I would have noticed had he not pointed it out, but it wasn’t quite as impressive as I’d expected from knowing the records.
However, it seems that even a flawed, slightly ‘going through the motions’ performance from The Antlers is still pretty awe inspiring. It only added to the feeling that moments of beauty were being created half by accident and with little effort.