I messed up at The Antlers show. I was worn down and worn out. Had gone out to the Catskills the night before, drank heavily, dealt with a friend’s nervous breakdown, nursed a hangover in the morning, and drove back two hours to NY. I took a disco nap but I was bruised and battered and really just not in the mood. Plus, Webster Hall is not my favorite venue.
It doesn’t seem to match The Antlers either. Too glossy and pretentious for Silberman’s soul shattering falsettos and the impalpable sadness that takes hold of you when listening to them. Webster Hall should be great – the spooky staircases and the ghostly-lit chandeliers in the main hall make you feel like you’re a visitor in someone’s memory. Maybe it’s the crowd that ends up there, the interruption of your flow by scantily clad teenagers in the “club” on the first floor, the disgusting bathrooms. The point is, I’d been looking forward to The Antlers for so long and I really wasn’t in the right place – mentally, spiritually or physically.
In spite of this, The Antlers were, as expected, devastatingly beautiful. Songs were transformed to fit the concert vibe – louder and longer with flashing lights, but they accomplished this with aplomb and without distorting their intimate sound. My favorites on the album were also my favorite live – No Widows, Hounds, French Exit, I Don’t Want Love.
And then there was Putting the Dog to Sleep. This song kills me with its tear-jerking guitar and bluesy drum. The melody goes in circles, like a whirlpool and this memory of a dream I had once always pops into my head.
I’m at this bar in some nameless town that’s been deserted because there’s a hurricane coming. I’m wearing a red sun dress because it isn’t cold, just gray and white and gloomy. I’m drinking a lot bourbon and slow dancing with this man who has been, up until this moment, intent on making it as difficult as possible to love him. The hurricane is not far off and we might die in it but it’s too late to escape our fate. So we continue to dance and drink straight from the bottle and stay close to each other and confess our final secrets and wait for the hurricane to come and do its worst. We’re scared, of course, but not alone. And of the terrible ways we treated each other when death was not at the door – it just doesn’t matter anymore.