Anberlin - Manchester Academy 3 - 10.9.07

Alternative rock with strong emotive vibrations may sound like something of a cliché nowadays,but its surprising how a little maturity and honesty added to a tired and saturated genre can make for a completely refreshing sound. Oregon based four-piece, Anberlin are awash with gorgeous melodies, on fire with intense, driving rhythm and soaring with sensitive vocals as they make a long-awaited Manchester appearance in support of their new album, “Cities”.

The songs that are shared with the crowd are heartfelt and fast-paced without ever being anything short of breathtaking. Verging on pop-punk, the material is well structured, catchy and intelligent with progressive flashes that showcase Anberlin’s ingenuity without interfering with their rudiments or wandering into self-indulgence. The band are visually exciting as they thrash around with a playful energy and the crowd are all too happy to follow along. The knowing smiles that are exchanged between band members onstage say that they are genuinely glad to be playing Manchester and that they are holding nothing back. This sincerity is what makes Anberlin seem so much more real and like something to believe in.

Their set is uplifting and communicates well the romantic and optimistic atmosphereof their songs and does have a more involved and urgent feel to it than their studio recordings. There is a particularly outstanding acoustic number, “The Unwinding Cable Car” slipped in for a quiet moment to breathe amongst crowd pleasers, “Godspeed” and “ A Whisper and a Clamour”. After a token encore the band depart and leave fans wondering if they will have to wait another two years to see them again in the UK. On the strength of tonight’s show and Anberlin’s growing fan-base, Academy 1 is on the horizon.

Subtly distinguished and entertaining enough to make a great impression, Anberlin are a pleasure to watch and stand tall above many of their contemporaries.

Words: Ben Herbert
Photos: Mark Forrer- 

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