Live: The Antlers. Heaven, London. 12/5/11. 8/10.


Following on from the heartbreaking, tender songs of their previous album Hospice was never going to be an easy task for The Antlers. With tonight’s set consisting mostly of unfamiliar new material from their forthcoming album Burst Apart, tonight could have been a disaster. Fortunately, it was quite the opposite.

Opening with ‘I Don’t Want Love’ immediately appeased the crowd, with it’s beautiful melody and resigned lyrics signifying a clear continuation from their earlier work. Whilst the formula may remain somewhat similar in terms of songwriting, the claustrophobic and sparse arrangements are no more, making way for an epic and heavy wall of noise. Complementing the richer and more complete sound of the new songs, a reworked version of ‘Kettering’ proves to be a real highlight of the evening. Whereas Peter Silberman’s vocals sound frail on record, his delicate falsetto soars with real beauty in a live setting.

A muscular version of ‘Bear’ is unleashed midway through the gig, building to a euphoric and overwhelming climax, which prompts inebriated cries of ecstasy from the audience. A finale of new tracks ‘Rolled Together’ and ‘Putting The Dog To Sleep’ prove how much the band have grown in making the new album. The heartfelt cry of “prove to me I’m not gonna die alone” may well be a throwback to the themes of Hospice but it’s the urgent, stabbing guitars of ‘Putting The Dog To Sleep’ which confirm that The Antlers are a band in the ascendancy.

The band return to the stage with an almost unrecognisable rendition of fan favourite ‘Two’, complete with gorgeous harmonies before breaking into yet another chaotic frenzy of heavy guitars and synths. Ending the set is the truly epic ‘Wake’, which sees the band sounding more intense than ever, as Silberman screams, “don’t ever let anyone tell you that you deserve that”, bringing the set to an emotional ending.

If there’s one criticism of tonight’s show, it’s that it seems all too brief. Although The Antlers could easily be accused of being a depressing, self-pitying band due to their emotionally draining lyrics, they categorically denied this charge tonight, producing an uplifting and mesmerising performance.

Check out this fan vid of ‘Putting The Dog To Sleep’ from the show:

Setlist:

I Don’t Want Love
Parenthesis
No Widows
Kettering
Bear
Hounds
Rolled Together
Putting The Dog To Sleep

Encore:
Two
Wake

From Craig Jones.

Sucking Lemons.

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