AntelopeSolar Culture Gallery, Saturday, Dec. 15
Not many bands make the decision to become aggressively simple, especially when they sound like Washington, D.C., three-piece Antelope, who played earlier this month at Solar Culture Gallery.
Antelope are like no other band in existence. In order to fully understand them, give a listen to some of their members' prior bands like El Guapo, Supersystem and The Vertebrates, or check out other Dischord Records mainstays like Fugazi, The Evens and Joe Lally, whom they've supported on tour. The D.C. sound has left distinct baby-sized musical footnotes in the book of rock 'n' roll, and it's the sound that has paved the way for and influenced Antelope the most. You have to hear it to believe it, but when they played the first chords of their song "Dead Eye" at the Tucson show, it was like being a punk-rock kid again.
Antelope's beauty as a live band lies in the subtle nuances of perfectly placed cymbal crashes, angular guitar hooks and thumping bass. They brought all three to Solar Culture along with a surprise dose of free-form dancing, which I don't think anyone saw coming--but then again, it was hard not to dance.
Keeping their influences and ex-bands in mind, it's not all that strange that Antelope sounds not only like D.C., but also like one another. Even as each member of the band rotated through different instruments like a game of musical chairs, the sound was faithful, and repetitive yet meditative. I didn't realize before that night that they had more than just one singer.
There's something distinctively mesmerizing about Antelope's simplicity that is energetic and dynamic, yet can be labeled as "hypnotizing minimalist punk." I can't name another band that Antelope truly sounds like, and it's their inability to be categorized that makes them so exciting, even if their songs sound similar. Simple is something that you have to do well.
No one wants to re-read a line from a book over and over, unless it's the best sentence you've ever heard. Antelope was just that.