You know that friend you had growing up, the one with the hippie parents that collected everything? They packed their aging brownstone with stacks of books, furniture from the '70s, vintage clothes, plants with too many vines, classic records and other novel bric-a-brac. That's what Crystal Antlers sound like to me: smart, chaotic, and filled to the brim with enough strange morsels of intrigue that you could spend all day digging. No wonder audiophiles are so excited about that album with the vagina on the front of it.
PHOTOS BY ANGORA HOLLY POLO
Such was their performance on the busy Larimer Lounge stage: frontman Jonny Bell keening from the echoing space of another decade; your typical rock band setup churning out nostalgic '70s rock with controlled fits of jazz confusion; and the added bonuses of a cute girl playing the organ and two charismatic, sometimes-shirtless drummers. Percussionist Damian Edwards provided much more than just rhythm--he was like a hype man, twirling his sticks around and yes, taking his top off.
I always like theorizing why two bands are booked together; in this case, I feel like Crystal Antlers and the Big Pink share two commonalities: 1.) The bloggers are completely out of their minds for both bands, and 2.) They both have tons of complicated equipment. It took the Big Pink a really long time to set up, with their cords and lights and smoke machines. Luckily the dance-tastic opener DJ Hot to Death kept passing Guido and I his entire pitcher of beer to sup directly out of; these are the perks of being a Person of Import at Larimer Lounge. And guess what, kids? It was entirely worth the wait! The Big Pink was sincerely one of the best shows I've seen in far, far too long.
The strobe lights and smoke machine completely transformed the Larimer, reducing everyone to sexy black and blue silhouettes in front of blinding platinum light. They straightforwardly went through their very great album, which is somehow even more compelling live, Milo Cordell doling out sounds from his equipment labeled with his title "Racket Scientist." The Big Pink specializes in dance music for the Jesus and Mary Chain crowd--dark, echoing guitars, and of course romantic subject matter as their album A Brief History of Love suggests. I'm pretty sure they've nailed the perfect tempo for their songs: fast enough to dance to, but still slow enough to be sultry.
I made the mistake of reading Heather's review of the Big Pink show on Fuel/Friends, and it's like she went into my mind and stole my thoughts exactly, and then articulated them more clearly and accurately than I had even dreamed of. So go read her review, I swear, it's awesome!! Also Cause=Time, Reverb, and Westword reviewed the show!
But look at these photos first:
THE BIG PINK:
*DJ Hot to Death actually took the above one for us. Look how good he is!
Father Guido being handsome
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