The most wholesome band in indie rock.
by Caitlin Caven
Way back at SXSW, when The Antlers comprised a few of the ten people that my family housed, they bought my mom a potted plant and my parents a bottle of wine as a thank-you. Peter jokingly captioned the ensuing picture on facebook—of Darby, wind-swept and holding the orchid, while Michael squints and looks baffled—“the most thoughtful band in America.”
It’s pretty much a self-fulfilling prophecy. We’re each, apparently, equal parts mother-hen and twenty-something-dude(tte). I have a first-aid kit on my person at all times (band-aids! Tylenol! Ear plugs!), and Peter proudly informed us that he has peanut butter granola bars should we get hungry. At a grocery store stop a couple of hours ago, Michael bought bananas, baby carrots, and rice cakes for the band. We’ve all showered recently, though we’re in varying stages of being sleepy (everyone)/ headachey (Peter and me)/ hung over (Darby.) All in all, we’re skewing more toward “soccer practice” than “rock and roll”. It’s a Norman Rockwell start to the tour, and all I can’t help but think that we should have staged a photo-op. It’s certainly going to be downhill from here.
Predictably, the sheen of that first paragraph was short-lived. I spilled the carrots across the floor of the car, then lost a few apples in the storage compartment. We ate at an Irish themed bar in Baltimore where the service was terrible and they played the entirety of Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American (oddly comforting!) on the juke box. Now the Styrofoam-boxed leftovers are making the van smell like regret. We don't go on for a few hours, so we're just chilling. The drive was surprisingly trying, and we all have slightly dead-eyed expressions.
This was The Antlers’ first show since June, and the first time they've played most of these new songs live. It went well. The venue, The Talking Head, was a tiny, dark, and had a good feel to it, and the staff was rather cool to us. Small Sur and Noble Lake, the Baltimore-based bands on the bill, bowled us over. They’re both on the mellower end of the spectrum: Small Sur is more intricate and droning, while Noble Lake is more sprawling and folksy. If you get a chance, look them both up.
After the show, it took us roughly a year and a half to get our minivan un-stuck from the alley we parked in. Noble Lake looked on, while holding their guitars and harmonium. Peter navigated like a champ and Michael displayed endless patience. Darby and I were fairly worthless to the endeavor.
This is the second night in a row I’ve slept in a chair. It's the curse of being the petite one; the others got a couch or a floor-mattress. Jerks.