It’s cold, it’s snowing and it’s a Monday night – three good reasons why State should be at home. Upstairs in Whelan’s, however, a capacity crowd has braved the elements to catch a band already being tipped as one of the most exciting acts of 2009. Hailing from Long Beach, LA, Crystal Antlers already had the media masses drooling back in October when they played the CMJ Music Marathon in New York – no mean feat when you consider the band has but a single self-titled EP under its belt. Regardless, it seems this is enough to send the crowd packing to the front of the venue, as the band emerge onstage a little before 10.
Dispersing with formalities early on, lead singer and bassist Jonny Bells not so much introduces the five-piece, as kicks-in the eardrums of the audience, with the band’s incredibly loud blues-rock sonic assault. Barely visible from the floor, Victor Rodriguez fleshes out this sound with a blissed-out psychedelic feel on his vintage organ; while not one, but two drummers (including the charismatic Sexual Chocolate) bang away for all their worth, adding to the intensity of the overall experience.
While this is great for those who love the Crystal Antlers sound, the lack of variation between tracks could soon wear thin if it wasn’t for the band’s boundless onstage energy. This is music that’s best heard live. The crowd soon reciprocates, and before long heads are nodding and bodies shuffling in approval to the evening’s highlight, ‘A Thousand Eyes’. With hardly a breather between tracks, we slowly get an idea of what to expect from the band’s forthcoming debut, Tentacles and the signs are good.
Whelan’s upstairs – Monday 2nd February