Concert Reviews

Anberlin Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 11, 2014    
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Anberlin - University, Cardiff (UK) - 1st February 2013

Rescheduled from November 2012, this marked the bands first ever proper headlining tour in the UK. Something of an enigma, Anberlin received great critical acclaim during their 'Tooth And Nail' days with the phenomenal 'Never Take Friendship Personal' and follow up 'Cities' before losing their way when they signed to Universal. Latest album 'Vital' has finally bucked the trend of mediocrity and given the band another set of songs that simply have to work in a live environment, don't they?

The Great Hall at Cardiff University is a pleasant venue with a decent capacity and good acoustics but Anberlin, played one of the smaller satellite rooms: disappointing as Anberlin deserved better, lack of ticket sales illustrating the work that the band still needs to do to impress the great British punter. Inevitably the smaller venue, with a low ceiling and several pillars obscuring the view, meant that the sound suffered and singer Stephen Christian initially struggled to be heard above the slightly woolly wall of noise generated by the rest of the band. 'Little Tyrants' was a mess with the band and the crowd's enthusiasm pegged back by the realisation that the mixing desk was having problems. 'We Owe This To Ourselves', 'Paperthin Hymn' and 'Never Take Friendship Personal' come and go before the sound began to improve on the excellent 'The Resistance' from the much maligned 'New Surrender' album. The band started to relax and the crowd clearly started enjoying themselves. 'Dismantle.Repair' and 'The Other Side' were followed by a rabble rousing rendition of 'Impossible' and Christian had the small yet attentive audience eating out of his hand. Christian's rapport with those gathered was relaxed, warm and humourous and the acoustic interlude following a punchy version of 'Feel Good Drag' was worth the admission price alone.

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Christian invited requests and amongst all the shouting one voice was more determined to be heard over the others. 'Unwinding Cable Car' it shouted incessantly. Christian let it be known that the band haven't done that song live for a while but the band is willing to play it only if the gentleman requesting the song went onstage with the band and sings it. Now the chap in question could have made a right hash of the song but to the surprise of all present, he did a superb job in a genuinely unrehearsed off the cuff moment that truly added to the spectacle. The band seemed genuinely touched, Christian jokingly asking if anyone wanted to play a drum solo next. An acoustic version of 'A Day Late' followed-yet another crowd request, and the set proper was rounded off by the storming 'Self-Starter' before everyone went home happy after a rousing version of 'Godspeed' as an encore.

Despite the small venue and initial sound problems, Anberlin remain a formidable live act and yet with an original sound and some great songs it's still a mystery why the band still remain something of a cult in Britain.

Mike Newdeck

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