By Joseph Sutton-Holcomb / Special to The Seattle Times
The Antlers are often mislabeled as a sad band. Wednesday night’s show at Neumos proved once and for all that the reality is far more complex.
Sure, there were moments of desperate-feeling musical upheaval where lead singer Peter Silberman’s voice cut like a razor, but most of the songs inhabited a space between trumpet-laden other-worldliness and slow, towering walls of guitar noise. The vibe was not depressing — just intense, and eclectic as well. It’s refreshing to see a rock band deliver those utterly necessary boilerplate guitar explosions in songs dominated by keyboards and horns.
Silberman, renowned for his mastery of the higher vocal registers, navigated his lyrics with confidence. Few falsettos sound quite as crisp in a live setting as they do on recordings, but the sound was mixed well. The venue crew must have known his singing was too central to The Antlers’ sound to get lost behind the instruments.
The set list delved deeper into the band’s 2009 concept album “Hospice” than one would expect. Perhaps the best (at least the most unexpected) treat of the evening was “Epilogue,” a B-side of that album. The band has evolved so much in the last five years that the live version actually sounded crisper than the recording.
As the show began to wind down, it seemed as if Silberman and crew were shying away from playing the crowd favorites from their poppiest album, “Burst Apart,” to make room for more refined, orchestral-sounding material from this year’s LP “Familiars.”
But the band put these concerns to bed during the encore, first performing a soul-crushing version of “I Don’t Want Love” followed by crowd favorite “Putting the Dog to Sleep.” These songs are, respectively, the opener and closer on “Burst Apart.” If only all encores could have such tidy symmetry.