Anberlin - Live Review
posted on Saturday, 22 January 2011 @ 15:46 | permalinkOriginally published in Issue 49 of Pugwash News
Anberlin (support: Hawthorne Heights, What Now)
Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms 21/11/10
What Now opened the show, giving a solid yet somewhat generic performance to a relatively unresponsive crowd with movie soundtrackesque songs and performance of catchy new single Toy Soldiers. Special guests were Hawthorne Heights, probably taking some of the crowd back to their teenage emo phase, with a small contingent of very excited fans singing every word. The band were quite slow to get into their stride, despite starting with plenty of energy something seemed to be missing. Performances of well-known tracks This Is Who We Are and Ohio Is For Lovers marked the performance finding its feet and the crowd warming to the band. Material from new album Skeleton showed a slightly more mature sound, although still definitely pandering to their emo-pop style, and ended with a singalong to Niki FM, which had anyone with memories of the song mouthing the words.
Anberlin took to the stage with raptuous cheers and immediately incited movement into the previously static crowd with We Owe This To Ourselves, and the words were bellowed back at them during Paperthin Hymn. New material from latest album Dark is the Way, Light is a Place played a big part in the set, with songs such as 'Take Me (As You Found Me)' and 'Pray Tell' recieved just as well as the older songs. Vocalist Stephen Christian's performance was pitch-perfect and energetic - his impressive vocal far surpasses that of any X Factor contestant or two-bit 'popstar', and was showcased perfectly on acoustic track 'The Unwinding Cable Car'. The downside of this was that in parts, the show could've done with more of a 'live feel', and the band's interaction with the crowd was very limited. However, using samples and instrumentals to link between each song gave the whole show a sense of flowing seamlessly, and combined with a forest backdrop, the whole performance had a very atmospheric feel. After disappearing briefly, the band treated the fans who had been chanting for the song all night with Ready Fuels, and the explosive reaction showed just how much this show had been enjoyed and appreciated.