Crystal Antlers @ Zeppelin’s Underground, El Paso, TX, 3/24/09

Crystal Antlers

Crystal Antlers

In a few months, Crystal Antlers is going to be HUGE. Not only does the Long Beach sextet have a growing cult of fans but their new album is going to be recommended by every other critic. (More on that review next month!) And to boast, these California-rockers know how to put on an intense, energetic, frenetic live show. With these combinations in place, the future looks good for Crystal Antlers.

A two-story fixture located near the town’s university, Zeppelin’s Underground is known for bringing talented, up and coming acts to the bordertown’s music scene. Before they were on everything from Spin to Rolling Stone to MTV, bands such as Deerhunter and No Age have graced the stage with tremendous live shows.

Finding Friction

Finding Friction

Finding Friction opened the night at the grungy El Paso pub with some good energy. A new band from New York, their sparkly indie rock was a nice opening to the night. With guitars resembling Blur and The Strokes, this quartet of musicians took the stage with a humble set of music. One of the songs sounded eerily close to “Beetle Bum” and with a good amount of musicality, this was a good opening show.

Like No Age last year, rather than taking to the stage, Crystal Antlers performed on the upstairs floor. This set up some arduous amateur photography by yours truly but I did my best, I promise. The band wasted little time to start and ripped through a shred of music in what felt like ten minutes. Performing most of the material from their upcoming album, Tentacles, the band was cohesive, musically tight and entirely enveloping. Although their music is loud, noisy and cacophonous, they are a band filled with impressively talented musicians.

Rhythm Section

Rhythm Section

Hearing the band tear through “Painless Sleep,” “Tentacles” and “Dust” was something special. They are able to stop in a heartbeat and although they were all spread out over the floor, they are each responsible for their own meter and they never lost a step. Andrew King shouted into the microphone and the 70s-style keyboard sound make for some gripping music. In a snap-shot, this is what Crystal Antlers is all about.

The shining stars, for me, were the two percussionists, especially auxiliary man, Damian Edwards. The two are the glue to the band’s two guitar, one bass and keyboardist attack. Edwards shines on his bongo set and cymbal as he pounds, slams and musically aligns everything within the frame of the song. Always rhythmically in time, dynamically powering and absolutely engrossing, they give off immense energy.

All in all, a fantastic night of loud music from a band that will surely gather a lot of attention this year. Crystal Antlers tour until the end of March before taking a month off to ready their album’s release and take care of promotional duties, before resuming their tour at the end of April. Go watch them.

Touch and Go Records