The Space has become known for its surprises and hidden treasures. This weekend held one of those golden nuggets in the form on alt rockers, Anberlin. The Florida group had been scheduled to perform at the Heirloom in Danbury but due to some unforeseen issues, the show needed to be moved. Special props to Mark Nussbuam of Manic Productions and Steve Rodgers of The Space for making the change quickly and smoothly while accommodating all ticket holders.
Anberlin is billing this as the "Acoustic Tour" and there are acoustic guitars involved. But, unlike some groups' acoustic performances, this tour does involve the full band with a complete drum kit, keys, effects and all the energy of a normal Anberlin show. However, well known songs have been rearranged giving them a whole new personality.
As a long-time fan of Anberlin, it was so good to hear that Stephen Christian's vocals are still the heart of this group. A voice that is unique and driven by Christian's passion for the songs gives Anberlin its character. Backing harmonies are rich and colorful, filling out the vocal section perfectly. Stephen mentioned more than once that they had hoped that this tour would offer more intimate moments but never imagined they would get a chance as intimate as The Space. Although the closeness did seem to throw them off a bit, the whole band did appear to like have the audience so small and close.
This prolific band currently has five studio albums to pull from along with a brand new record due out later this year. The evening's set covered most of those bases. From "New Surrender", the single that actually saw airplay "Feel Good Drag". Also from the 2009 release came "Breaking". "Dark is the Way, Light is the Place", an album title borrowed from Dylan Thomas, songs included: "Take Me (As You Found Me)", "Down" and closing number "Impossible". Anberlin shared one track from "Never Take Friendship Personal", "A Day Late"and from "Cities" we were treated to "Inevitable", "Alexithymia", "Dismantle. Repair." done solo at the piano by Stephen and "Unwinding Cable Car". For this special tour, Anberlin even pulled out one of their "B-Sides", "I'd Like To Die".
Anberlin's songs have always drawn from relationships; romantic, family and friends. Lyrics cover from the most functional to completely dysfunctional in all those areas. That's probably why they have such a great library at this point and will continue to write more genuinely heartfelt songs that will earn them even more new fans. I first saw this band as an opening act at Toad's in 2006 and was hooked that night even though they were just surfacing above the radar. I saw them again in 2007 and was reassured that my love of their music was well-deserved. Saturday night was the first time I've been to one of their shows since and I know that it will not be the last. I look forward to their new album.
A special thank you to Manic Productions for making it possible for me to book this review in the last minute. Please visit their site and check out the shows they book. Mark works very hard and covers numerous venues in New Haven and Fairfield county.