Article and photos by Shari Elis Jaffri
The Antlers took over Iowa City’s Blue Moose Tap House to perform on the 31st of March as a part of the Mission Creek Festival. Not currently on tour, the band made it all the way to Iowa City for a special performance and managed to give a hauntingly powerful show.
Opening bands Emperor’s Club and Tires set the mood just right – not too raucous, not too quiet.
The Antlers started the show with single “Parentheses” taken from Burst Apart, their 2011 album which was featured heavily on many Top Albums of 2011 lists written by music bloggers/enthusiasts/aficionados everywhere. A sense of connection was in the air and although the music was sad, the crowd swayed and sang along to the lyrics, lapping up all melancholy hues in good spirits.
Peter Siberman’s Jeff Buckley-esque haunting vocals and high falsettos were on key and moving in a way that was almost animal in nature. Somewhat disappointingly to some fans of the band, The Antlers performed only few numbers from their critically-acclaimed and masterpiece of a debut album, Hospice. The only reasoning that comes to mind for this would be perhaps due to Hospice being such a raw and personally-moving album that should not be overplayed for fear of losing its sentimentality. Furthermore, just how true-to-life Hospice is has always been hush-hush as Peter Siberman has maintained reticence in the legitimacy of the story portrayed in the album. Although most songs were performed from ‘Burst Apart’, the show remained a powerful one with standout song performances including “Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out”, “No Widows”, and, of course, the phenomenal “Putting the Dog to Sleep”.
On a special note, it was also Peter Siberman’s birthday on that day. The curly-haired frontman was presented with a strawberry cake onstage followed by the crowd singing “Happy Birthday” to him.
The show was most definitely a cathartic one – not just for the band, but also for the crowd. All in all, it was a beautiful experience to remember.
• Check out KRUI’s interview with The Antlers at the KRUI Mission Creek Lounge in Public Space One.