Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Future Nostalgia – The Antlers @ Webster Hall

The Antlers @ Webster Hall - December 10, 2011
Photos & Review: James M. Graham

The last time I saw The Antlers was when they opened for The National at The Electric Factory in Philadelphia two years ago. I was interested (Hospice had just been released) and I tried to pay attention, but it was not their crowd and not their venue and not their night.

Saturday at Webster Hall was a different story altogether. Returning from Turkey on December 6 and a long tour of the world including recent dates in Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Sweden, they landed back at home in New York City.

At Webster Hall – Sold out fire-trap.

They hit the stage with “Parenthesis” from Burst Apart and within moments, they owned the room.

A four-piece now, with an additional guitarist, they soared through “No Widows,” and “Kettering”- the first song from Hospice and a reference to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the “world’s oldest and largest cancer center” located here in NYC.

After three songs, the crowd was rapt and avidly appreciating the song cycle that the band was unfolding.

Lights swirled, guitars swooned and the keyboards hit home hard. And Peter’s voice rose above the slight cacophony, especially during his Jeff Buckley-esque high parts, to the point that most of the crowd stared helplessly, held their hands or others tightly, or wept wholeheartedly. These songs clearly mean something to their fans.

They worked through most of Hospice and Burst Apart with beauty and grace and a sense of craft that you could literally cut with a knife. The room was filled with a wonderful, translucent grey, only to cut it away and see, that this is rare humanity.

The Antlers returned for an encore that ended with “Epilogue” which went on for a good ten minutes. Which was about five minutes too long, but could have lasted forever.

The wake was complete and it was beautiful and it was over.

P.S. - Peter was sporting a road-weary beard. A woman shouted out, “Nice beard” and he wearily said, “Thank you…” with a smile on his face. And at some point, he said, “Hey New York, it sure is good to be home.” That’s The Antlers.


Check out a couple more shots took at this awesome show, and if you weren't able to go, our friend NYCTaper has a full recording available right over here.

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