Posted by: Cory | March 30, 2009

Review: The Antlers, Guggenheim Grotto @ Vernon Lanes – 3/24

The Antlers came to town & destroyed Louisville.  Unfortunately, you weren’t there to see it.  Don’t feel bad…nobody was.  The crowd of 15 for the Guggenheim Grotto performance had dissipated down to 6 by the time The Antlers came on. Three of those were us, the other three were high school kids with a mother in tow.

Starting the night’s performance was the Guggenheim Grotto from Ireland.  Having recently played the Vernon Lanes, GG apparently quickly built a loyal base of fans of WFPK-listenrs who seemed to be able to sing along with every word.  On this night, only Kevin May and Mick Lynch were performing.  Kevin May had a shockingly good voice, but in truth, Mick Lynch was the talent of the band and I’d have rather seen him go at it solo for about three songs before the band left the stage altogether.  It’s not that it wasn’t good…it was, but it was boring.  Comparisons to Simon & Garfunkle abound, and while those two are some of my favorite musicians of all time, GG just feel a little redundant and make for a better bar band than legit concert.  Well, if the bar was in the middle-of-the-road part of Ireland.  That said, personal taste.  GG is huge with the WFPK crowd, and as a result they’ll be playing an upcoming Waterfront Wednesday.

As the Brooklyn-based, buzz band The Antlers took the stage, we moved up front so as not to make them feel as though they were playing into an empty room.  Upon first listen, The Antler’s Hospice was a little too dark, too Brooklyn and maybe even a little too Animal Collective.  By the time I heard the album for the second time, I fell in love.  The darkness of Peter Silberman’s vocals on Hospice give way to a significantly more beautiful pop sound when performed live and at all times entrancing.

Perhaps it’s the dissemination of mp3s or the radio-play of singles, but a lot of bands (particularly new-ish bands) have forgotten how to craft an album from beginning to end.  And I’m not talking about the grandiose myth-laden folk operas of The Decemberists, I’m talking about making something that works like a really good book–when you start it, you gotta finish.

What was perhaps the most intriquing about the Antlers was how, given the down-tempo orchestration of the album, it would translate live.  Shucking away the urge to make the sound bombastic at the expense of losing nuance, The Antlers dealt with a stripped down orchestration and showed off their musical acumen instead.  Whereas the album is about layers, the live show was about being a tight, tour-toughened band who has found their songs identity along the road.  It wasn’t perfect, but the bowling balls rolling overhead at Vernon Club who recently have redone their space, leaving them with some sound kinks to work out.  Midway through the set, The Antlers trotted out the staple of bands touring on their first album — a Neil Young cover (“Harvest Moon”).  But what was beautiful was that rather than sounding derivative, The Antlers made it their own, awash in their own particular way of playing, their own particular way of expression, their own particular sound in the midst of a classic song.  At this point it hit the handful of us left — The Antlers are the real deal.

The Antlers – Harvest Moon (Neil Young Cover)

The Antlers- Shiva


The Guggenheim Grotto- Oh Nikita

The Antlers

Guggenheim Grotto



  1. I was so upset when I found out about this show, because I already had a show on the same night. Moral of the story: let everyone else do the work, and you can sit back and reap the harvest.

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