With a mix of curious bystanders who were out to discover something new and loyal fans excited to catch a rare glimpse of the band on English soil, Anberlin took to the stage this Tuesday in a flurry of smoke effects and leather jackets.
A band that has long been around but has never really ‘exploded’, Anberlin had a huge discography to choose from, with mixed results. Over a decade since they first formed in 2002 and six studio albums down the line, I did expect something with a little more impact to it. Despite there being some serious Anberlin lovers in the crowd, the atmosphere remained a little lazy throughout the gig. That’s not to say though, that the band didn’t give it their all, and never really wavered from filling the stage, jumping like crazy and trying to create something a little more visual and energetic.
Technically speaking, Anberlin are a musically very skilled band, with drummer Nathan Young proving to be particularly impressive with hardcore influenced beats that are underplayed on the band’s studio albums. The sound, however, didn’t do them much justice, with vocalist Stephen Christian’s usually well loved and unique voice often getting almost completely lost in the sound of the rest of the band, a lot less clearer than the support bands who had stormed the stage earlier, The Getaway Plan and The Xcerts.
It would be unfair not to mention though, the chanting along of the crowd during songs like ‘Never Take Friendship Personal’ and ‘Feel Good Drag’. The crowd was a little sluggish in places but there were moments of anthem-esque clapping and belting out choruses. There certainly wasn’t a shortage of queues at the merchandise stand either and chatting to people in the bar afterwards, there was a sure post-gig buzz amongst some people, which I’ll admit made me feel as if I had missed something.
As the gig drew to a close an uproar of “one more song” yells and applause lead to an explosive couple of encore songs, finishing with ‘Godspeed’ and leaving a front few rows of the crowd out of breath and eyeliner stained from the energy of the finale.
I’ve got to say that Anberlin didn’t live up to the praise I’d heard from friends about their performances, despite them being so manic, energetic and there clearly being some huge fans in the audience. Compared to the catchy choruses I’ve had stuck in my head from their studio albums, Anberlin just didn’t leave much of an impression on me. They have an excellent relationship with their fans and put a lot of life into their performance, but as a group they came across as a spectacularly average alternative rock band.
They were neither a band to blow you away or for anyone to particularly dislike, but I’d give them another chance if they came into the area. Anberlin have been going strong for eleven years and have a solid fan base who swear blind they’re fantastic live, so just maybe I just caught them on an off day.
…Kamiah is listening to Beirut – ‘East Harlam’