From Long Beach, California to the shabby, daubed bunk beds at the Arena venue in Vienna: Crystal Antlers opened the doors of their bedroom-for-one-night for us on this early-March day and gave us an impression of what everyday life of a band on tour looks like. The setting in the bedroom – with all its political slogans and band logos scribbled on the walls and bedposts – is rather reminiscent of an advanced school trip than of the stereotypical image of cool and dirty Rock’n’Roll lifestyle. When Crystal Antlers have found their places on the three-storied bunk beds it though looks like they don’t want to leave anymore. They improvise before, during and after their songs, add longish endings and unknown parts and explore the possibilities of a set without amplification. The acoustic approach adds a charming, so far unheard fragility to their burning, apocalyptic sound on stage and records.
Arena is a cultural center and music venue in the industrialized district of Erdberg. Its beginnings hark back to 1976, when some thousand demonstrators gathered around the former St. Marx Auslandsschlachthof to save it from demolition and subsequent commercial use. While they were not able to save the huge building complex, the vast social movement did succeed in reaching the foundation of an autonomous cultural center on the smaller area of the former slaughterhouses, which represents today’s Arena. Presently Arena has integrated a wide musical spectrum to its programme for various crowds and commercial use. Yet Arena’s dictum “Love Music, Hate Fascism!” is more than a relict of old days as it is still the venue with the most punk concerts in town.