Going to an Anberlin concert is like having a religious experience, which is fitting due to the band’s Christian upbringing. From the opening —“We Owe This To Ourselves” — to the closing — “The Feel Good Drag,” — Anberlin was one of the most high energy bands I’ve ever seen. Their encore, “(*Fin),” is a soft song with a tremendous ending, and it represented the band perfectly. It’ll be a slow rise to the top, but these guys have the potential to get there and they appreciate those along for the ride. During their show at Irving Plaza, lead singer Stephen Christian dedicated a track from their B-sides album, “Lost Songs,” to “the fans that have been with us since ‘Blueprints For the Black Market,’” their first album.
The Florida-based Christian post-grunge five-piece formed in 2002 and is currently comprised of Christian, Deon Rexroat (bass), Joseph Milligan (lead guitar), Christian McAlhaney (rhythm guitar), and Nathan Young (drums). The amount of exposure they’ve gotten is not equal to the intensity of their message. Anberlin speaks to people who are apathetic, along with those who feel hopeless about the state of our world and people who have been outcasts in a place that should have been home. On “The Resistance,” the first song on their fourth disc, “New Surrender,” Stephen sings that they are a “voice for the voiceless,” and he’s exactly right, but so many people hear the words “Christian influences” and immediately turn off the radio.
Their music inspired my first tattoo, and the band has so many songs that deal with what’s gone wrong in the Christian religion. They face their demons, rather than running away from them, and they show raw emotion to the crowds they play for.
On “Never Take Friendship Personal” and “Cities,” their second and third albums, respectively, glaring guitar solos on many of their tracks and intertwined screaming make it hard to pin Anberlin to one genre. Their latest release, “Dark Is The Way, Light Is a Place” sees the band going for a much more harder sound than on “New Surrender.” They’re already on their fifth album and still no one knows who they are. Well, they’re an amazing group of guys who make rock music that makes you want to get up and do something with your life. You don’t have to be Christian to enjoy that.