It’s wonderful when juxtaposition rules as a strong artistic presence in a live show and here, tucked away in the warehouses of post-industrial Birmingham, around the shallow water features and through a passageway disguised as a bookcase is the last place I imagine finding the Antlers. We hear a large, boxy bass drum shuddering around the high ceilings and we’re drawn in; a piece from new record Familiars signals our beginning. It’s a fantastic, crucial time for the New York trio to arrive in the Midlands and, surprised by the strength of the crowd, you can’t imagine they’d have been entertaining such a large, transfixed audience before the release of their recent album.
Firstly collared and secondly guided by Pete Silberman’s alluring falsetto on ‘No Widows’, there’s such romance and terror in the steady movements of his lungs, this is a truly unique voice to hear in the flesh. As the evening progresses, we become accustomed to flushes of brass, motifs of guitar; songs dawdling over eight or ten minutes, before dissolving into silence. The group may share an absent word or show a brief sign of gratification but, like method actors, never break this intensity. This is the commitment of a band that knows they’ve never been more apt or appropriate than they are in 2014.