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CRYSTAL ANTLERS @ THE ECHO

June 13th, 2009 · No Comments

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For a band as joyously raucous and loud as Crystal Antlers are live, singer bassist Jonny Bell spent way too much time talking with the PA guy trying to get the sound just right.  Did he really think we came to hear the fine guitar dynamics or the clarity of his subtle voice?  Hell, it took about 3 minutes before “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” became recognizable as a Dylan cover.  Face it: live, this band is scratched-vocal-chord singing, bass, and drums.   Not to discount the guitar and synthesizer, but no matter how far you crank them up on stage, they’re just adding some pleasant accompaniment.   And that’s a good thing.   When not screaming mostly unintelligible lyrics, Bell furiously pummels his bass, playing it more like a lead guitar so that most of the band’s hooks actually come from his bluesy riffs.  In the other corner, it’s a martial assault from the tag team of drummers, shirtless-after-one-song Kevin Stuart and Damian Edwards.  Stuart is hard on his drums, violently keeping beat and not missing any drum fill opportunities.  Edwards, by contrast, wearing plastic shades and playing a drumkit consisting of one cymbal and two small drums, gives Happy Monday’s Bez a run for his money.  He danced wildly about onstage and hollered the lyrics the whole time like he was both band member and #1 fan.  It was an infectiously entertaining contrast of light and heavy between Edwards and the music, until the end when he broke his sticks and flung them straight into the audience.  30 crushing minutes of music was short, but maybe just sweet enough to keep the old eardrums intact.  If you want to hear the ”subtler” parts of the band, buy Tentacles. If you want to have some fun, see Crystal Antlers rock a concert.

Greg Garabedian

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