Fanfarlo, The Antlers, The Wheel and Laura Marling played Music Hall of Williamsburg
It was my first time seeing each of these bands and The Antlers set clearly stood above the rest (10/20). The band (composed of guitar, keys/synth and drums) was able to balance their delicate lyrics and soft piano with wailing guitar fuzz, thick synth and booming drums. It all worked beautifully, particularly on tracks like “Kettering.” Their best song of the night (and set closer) “Two” sounded like a big arena rock number only to be toned down to a falsetto-acapella vocal. It didn’t hurt that the sound in the room was crystal clear all night long. Do yourself a favor and get to an Antlers show before the week is over (Sound Fix records today, 10/21, at 6 pm or The Delancey tomorrow, 10/22, at 10 pm). If you can’t make that happen, then see them headline Bowery Ballroom on 12/15, tix. Stream “Sylvia” below.
I got there in time to see Laura Marling who played acoustic guitar and was accompanied by a cellist. She was adorable and her folk songs brought Joanna Newsom & Gillian Welch to mind, high praise in my book. Her voice and lyrics are stunning, so much so, that I closed the doors at the back of the room myself so she didn’t have to compete with merch/bar noise. Yeah, you’re welcome.
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Wheel
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Wheel followed with a set of Rocky Mountain music from a big band including a fiddle player, stand-up bassist, piano/xylaphonist, drummer, hollow-body guitarist and the band leader/vocalist on acoustic guitar. They won the crowd over with their warm sound and stellar songs. Made me think a little of Bon Iver without the falsetto. Also a little M. Ward vibe without the rasp. They play 2 gigs on Friday, 10/23, Piano’s at 3:30 p and Bowery at 6 p. Gonna have to hustle with all that gear. Go see them, they’re impossible not to like.
The Antlers were next and then Fanfarlo closed the night. A good number of people left after The Antlers set. Clearly, Fanfarlo is made up of talented (young) musicians, but I could not get past how similar their sound was to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. I don’t know why I was comparing bands to other artists all night, but it didn’t bother me until this last one. The singer sounds almost exactly like Alec Ounsworth and the song structures are strikingly similar, so it kind of felt like a retread, nothing new, and I got bored. I don’t think it helped that they had to follow the mind-blowing set that the Antlers delivered either. Regardless, the crowd that stayed seemed to appreciate their sing-songy folk complete with boy/girl vocals, varied instrumentation and a few numbers that had some heels kicked up on the floor. Overall, a great show curated by BrooklynVegan.
Pictures after the jump…
Nathanial Rateliff and the Wheel