The Antlers put out one of my favorite records of 2009, a cathartic song cycle about, well, death, called Hospice. There’s no new Antlers record, but the band was back in Chicago again last night (April 22), stretching out those Hospice songs into art-rock epics. Peter Silberman, who started Antlers as a solo project, kept his voice floating up in high falsetto territory most of the night, with confident backing from Michael Lerner on drums and Darby Cicci on keyboards and bass pedals. The guitars and keyboards often melded together into amorphous washes, making it hard to tell who what playing exactly what. The band played one new song — and I have a photo of the set list, taken from a weird angle, where the title is hard to make out. “TEGNB6KK”? Sorry, that’s all I got for you on that.
The opening act was New York electronic-and-guitar duo Phantogram, who played an entertaining set of melodic songs, sounding like a real live band rather than the preprogrammed stuff you get at concerts by some electronic acts. Films of random street scenes and geometric patterns played on the screen behind Phantogram.