Anberlin At The Roxy Theatre
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By Julie Mutnansky
I started July off right by attending a rock concert at one of my favorite venues in Los Angeles — the Roxy Theatre on the famed Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. Walking up to the Roxy and seeing "Anberlin" on the brightly lit marquee only confirmed my excitement as I entered the fully packed room cast in dimly lit purple and blue hues. July 1 also happened to be one of those "record-breaking" hot days in Los Angeles, which means the heat continued to rise inside as fans were packed shoulder-to-shoulder.
There was something unique about seeing an alternative rock band in an acoustic setting. That's the gist behind the Anberlin Lite Tour, which featured the quintet teaming with indie pop band Campfire OK and Los Angeles locals Stars In Stereo for a show dedicated to songs they haven't played in a while, including creative reworkings of songs from their latest full-length album, 2012's Vital.
Opening with "Take Me (As You Found Me)" from 2010's Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place, Anberlin emerged onstage looking classy in suit jackets and vests, Henley tees and polka-dot button-down shirts. Frontman Stephen Christian's voice distinguished him from other rock artists, whether he was singing the melodic chord progressions that matched Joseph Milligan's guitar, or addressing the crowd as "an audience that makes him want to cancel the rest of their tour and just keep playing in Los Angeles."
The faint but distinct sound of the keyboard resembled that of a vibraphone and took me back to high school when I would transfer the moving sounds of "(The Symphony Of) Blasé" to my own musical stylings in my high school drum line. Though the song appears on 2005's Never Take Friendship Personal, it sounded fresher than ever. Christian took a moment to dedicate the song to the fans, who he credits for fulfilling his decision to chase his dreams.
Adding a bit of humor to the show, Christian took a break between songs to let drummer Nathan Young clip his toenails, and then murmured, "It's your show, man," to an audience member who shouted, "How are you still single?!" (Note: Christian is married.) Anberlin thoroughly enjoyed interacting with their fans, whether it was dedicating a song to someone for their birthday, autographing a hat, pulling a female fan onstage just for a hug, or giving a fan in the corner credit for dancing to every song.
The encore consisted of songs that showcased the band's multiple talents as Christian moved to piano and bassist Deon Rexroat hit a cajón drum for "Dismantle. Repair." Thanking the audience for a wonderful night, and extending gratitude for being able to play a legendary stage such as the Roxy, Anberlin left a mark on the audience, and one in my heart as well.
To catch Anberlin in a city near you, click here for tour dates.
"Take Me (As You Found Me)"
"(The Symphony Of) Blasé"
"Feel Good Drag"
"The Unwinding Cable Car"
(Julie Mutnansky lives in Santa Monica, Calif., where she serves as an Administrative Assistant for the GRAMMY Foundation. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona and a Southwestern girl at heart. She enjoys going to concerts and taking adventures. You can follow her on Instagram @juliemut or on Twitter @juliemutLA.)