Antlers was last week. Quick run-through:
The Academy 2 is one of the worst places in Dublin. It is the actual factual robot hell of the Dublin music scene. Why?
It’s way too dark.
There are pillars in the way if you’re not right at the front.
There’s a weird sloping wooden platform that you can end up standing halfway up if you’re not careful.
The pints are exceptionally poor and not cheap.
The sound is incredibly hit-and-miss, depending on where you’re standing.
Sometimes when you play there your friend’s glockenspiel and your guitar pedals get stolen from the backstage area that’s not a backstage area.
It’s essentially just a cellar that someone thought it’d be a good idea to exploit.
Disregarding all of these negatives and more, the Antlers managed to pack it out on the back of the fantastic album Hospice. It was one of those crowds that confuse you if you’re used to the same faces at every gig – a crowd that makes you pause for a moment and wonder where all these people were for similar band x upstairs in Whelans. Young and plentiful.
Antlers’ set was fragile, but in a subtly different way to the album. Whereas Hospice is balanced on a knife edge with goosebumpsy, sky-scraping ambience and very careful, measured construction, the live show obviously can’t be like that. So it’s more to do with post-rock ride cymbals, and fairly easily audible vocals. They’re good at it, so they pull it off, but it’s not as amazingly unique as it is on record.
Still, it’s loud and the music is good, so what complaints can there be, especially seeing as I seemed to be in the only place in the whole Academy 2 getting a listenable mix from the PA. Extra kudos for the use of organ bass pedals which I don’t think I’ve ever seen from a rock band.