Crystal Antlers

Bunkhouse Saloon, March 23

Despite absolutely perfect weather, only about 40 paying customers hit the Bunkhouse for Neon Reverb on Friday night. Anyhow, I listened uncomfortably amid the small pockets of bodies as Long Beach, Calif.’s Crystal Antlers mocked Boulder City’s Dude City, a young, punked-out roots-rock combo that, despite a horrible soundboard, played with rare, literate, drunken passion. Then, I was bored silly by the Antlers’ noisy, too-stripped-down set. They performed as a trio, apparently having lost a keyboardist in the journey from SXSW to Vegas. The absence was palpable, reducing the band from a psychedelic-tinged monster to a super-crude, garage-rock unit. The Antlers played my favorite song of theirs, “A Thousand Eyes,” early in the set, and it was fine, yes. But with only 100 eyes watching an abridged group in action, I couldn’t muster much enthusiasm. ★★☆☆☆

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When Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, a loopy satire about England’s efforts to bring salmon fishing to the Middle East for political reasons, was unveiled last year at the Toronto International Film Festival, initial reviews used the words “broad,” “uneven,” “undemanding,” “syrupy” and “contrived.” But as comedy sinks lower by the day, this charming little film by polished director Lasse Hallstrom looks better all the time.