After a two-year absence from Los Angeles, alternative rockers The Antlers ambitiously returned to the stage at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Indie electronic pop duo Chairlift opened the evening with their dreamy dance tunes. As unlikely as it sounds, their music is best described as time-traveling ghost fairy tales. Their songs make you feel like you’re floating and running all at the same time. A sense of urgency comes to mind, and the need to arrive somewhere immediately is consuming. Singer/keyboardist Caroline Polachek has a gentle voice that gets surprisingly heavy on occasion. Along with four female backup singers decked in all black like the Witches of Eastwick, Chairlift dove straight into megahit “Amanaemonesia” to close out their set.
Upon their exit, intermission ensued and as lights in the room turned on, it became clear that their set was beyond amazing. Providing the ultimate sultry ambience with dim colorful lighting and a wide covered space lined with wood moldings, this venue appealed to all of the senses. Wall curvatures created acoustics so sharp it could have made ears cry. It was the perfect place to experience a story. The Antlers are known for their ability to narrate through songs. Some of those tales are good enough to eat. In fact, if these Brooklyn folks were a flavor, it would have to be cucumber melon – sweet, crisp, refreshing, and thirst-quenching.
Beginning with the windy sounds of “Drift Drive” followed by lead vocalist Peter Silberman’s cool breezy howls in “Rolled Together” only emphasized the mellow romance of the evening. Silberman’s androgynous voice undoubtedly hits the high notes in all the right ways. Incorporating the soft twangy guitar chords and the unassuming organ keys created the perfect blend of sweet and smooth. In fact, it felt as though the songs slightly blended into one another the same way clouds tend to do. Here, Antlers’ dream pop side certainly came out to play.
By the time they jammed into “I Don’t Want Love,” the set was in full swing. An onlooker remarked “Holy shit, I know this song!” Silberman’s vocals vibrated through the room; and a feel of serenity passed over audience members. The boys continued with the symphonic meditation in “Kettering’s” yummy intro. The deep, dark breakdown of the song weighed in as the most intense part of the evening. No fear, though, because lightening up with “Bear” took the sounds from sleepy lullabies to romantic jams in no time. By now, Antlers warmed up enough to engage the crowd a bit more and they danced and swayed around in their respective stage locations.
Minus a few technical difficulties peppered in the next few songs, they were able to deliver a strong performance. The Antlers are living proof that simple instrumentation can still go a long way. It is always refreshing to see a band create something so significant and expressive with the same instruments everyone else uses – a rare thing these days. The eloquent flow of song into song paired with the elegant harmonies of blue, purple and green ambient lighting made the night seem more like a fantasy sequence than a concert. After watching their charming encore “Putting the Dog to Sleep,” the hardest part about ending the night was waking up from the dream and walking out.
Set list as follows:
I Don’t Want Love
Putting the Dog to Sleep