On Saturday, November 10 Anberlin performed for a near-capacity crowd at Club Infinity in Williamsville, NY with Morning Parade and IAMWE. The Florida-based band is currently out on the road in support of Vital, released last month on Universal Republic.
Ambient indie rock five-piece IAMWE kicked things off with “Follow Me (Jungle)”, the first track from their debut album Run Wild. It didn’t take long for me to realize that their sound is eerily reminiscent of As Tall As Lions, while frontman Tim Maiden’s dynamic vocals could easily draw comparison to the flowing style of Coldplay’s Chris Martin.
Their songs were layered in sounds and instruments, each of them seemingly vying for your attention and trying to outdo the next one. Their rich combination of pounding beats, lush tones and soaring vocals are nothing short of captivating. Maiden’s powerful vocals manage to convey the emotional depth and striking authenticity of each song, while haunting melodies seduce you and lure you in. The heavy hitting percussion strikes just as the piano-driven atmospheric ambience lulls you into a false sense of security.
Before encouraging the crowd to stop by their merch table, IAMWE offered up a free copy of Run Wild, which came out four days prior, to anyone who knew who they were. The crowd’s energy level remained relatively subdue throughout the entire set. That is, until the band started in on their final song of the night “So They Say.” The driving and energizing drums and well matched horns caught everyone’s attention and proved why Anberlin took a chance on a DIY band from Arizona. Their well-crafted arrangements, smooth musicianship, and undeniable passion add up to one hell of a performance.
Providing direct support for Anberlin was critically acclaimed indie-pop ensemble Morning Parade from Harlow, Essex, England. The five-piece started in on a short set comprised of material from their self-titled debut which included the radio-friendly tracks “Close To Your Heart,” “Blue Winter,” “Us & Ourselves,” and “Headlights.” Their engaging stage presence and genuine enthusiasm for what they do as a collective really resonated with the crowd. And frontman Steve Sparrow’s vocals were everything a music enthusiast could hope for in a live performance – consistent, dynamic, and studio quality.
By the time headliner Anberlin took the stage, the crowd was amped and ready to rock. “Little Tyrants,” the second track from their latest album Vital, started off the set with a storm of sound and energy that have solidified Anberlin as one of the best live bands around. The intensity level was off the charts with both the band and the crowd feeding off one another and triggering relentlessly powerful energy that remained constant throughout the set. The near-capacity crowd sang along to “Little Tyrants” and even received a round of applause from vocalist Stephen Christian. The frontman was quick to establish a good rapport with the crowd. At one point he remarked, “We’re only a few days into this tour, but I’ve got to say… this is the hottest and sweatiest show in a long time.” And hot and sweaty it was.
Anberlin are a true spectacle of sight and sound. Their lighting and effects, which were clever and engrossing, flowed seamlessly with their performance. It certainly doesn’t hurt that they are one of the few bands that sound just as good, if not better, live than they do in their recordings. Each musician is incredibly polished, uber-talented and equally passionate. Stephen Christian has this ridiculous charisma that is totally contagious. You can’t help but smile when you see him on stage singing his heart out and giving it is all. His voice has such a distinct tone and resonance that melds into Joseph Milligan and Christian McAlhaney’s electrifying guitar riffs. With Deon Rexroat on bass and Nathan Young on drums, Anberlin is anchored by rock-solid rhythm and are able to deliver power shift changes in their songs that give movement and urgency to a great live performance. The band’s high energy, sheer showmanship, and unobstructed passion captivated the crowd at Club Infinity. You can tell that they really loved being there just as much as the fans did. They have great chemistry with one another and interact with the crowd, rather than performing at a distance.
The set was, with few exceptions, a masterfully executed adrenaline-pumping thrill ride with Anberlin delivering hit after hit with power and precision. The well-aimed setlist stretched across the band’s entire catalog, including fan-favorites like “Never Take Friendship Personal” and “Godspeed” as well as newer material like “Impossible” and “We Owe This to Ourselves.” An unexpected highlight of their set was the performance of rare B-side “I’d Like to Die” from Dark Is the Way, Light Is a Place. Of course Anberlin was eager to put a spotlight on their new music; a third of the set list drew from Vital with “Self-Starter,” “Other Side” and “Modern Age” being played in addition to “Little Tyrants.” Playing the new material is where the band really seemed to come alive. It was clear to all those in attendance that the band is extremely confident in the release. The set came to a close with fan-favorite “Feel Good Drag” and current single “Someone Anyone.”
After the band exited the stage, it wasn’t long before Christian returned for a piano-driven solo version of “Dismantle.Repair” from Cities that was powerful, gorgeous and goosebump-inducing. The band rejoined him to close out the night with “Ready Fuels” from Blueprint for the Black Market and “Paperthin Hymn” from Never Take Friendship Personal.
- Follow Me (Jungle)
- Run Wild
- Sons & Daughters
- So They Say
Morning Parade Setlist:
- Close To Your Heart
- Blue Winter
- Us & Ourselves
- Under The Stars
- Born Alone
- Little Tyrants
- We Owe This to Ourselves
- Never Take Friendship Personal
- The Resistance
- Pray Tell
- I’d Like to Die
- Other Side
- Modern Age
- Feel Good Drag
- Someone Anyone
- Dismantle.Repair (Stephen solo on keyboard)
- Paperthin Hymn
Photos by: James Kramer Photography
For more information: Anberlin / Morning Parade / IAMWE