Anberlin | Concert Experience
Since 1978, Irving Plaza has been a staple rock music venue in New York City, with acts such as Bob Dylan, U2, and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers taking the stage. On July 6th and 7th, alternative rock bands Anberlin and openers I The Mighty had the honor of playing a two night show, the last show Irving Plaza will have for eight months due to renovation.
While sometimes opening bands aren’t as appreciated by the crowd, there’s always a group of die hard I The Mighty fans in the crowd, and this show was no exception. Every I The Mighty show in the city draws the same group of people, who have bonded and formed their own little I The Mighty family that even the band members are a part of - to the point that guitarist Chris called one of them out by name halfway through the set. On night two, I The Mighty decided to mix up the setlist for those who attended both nights, and dedicated “Speak To Me,” a favorite from their early days as a band, to that faithful group of fans and friends. The guys of I The Mighty put on a fantastic show, getting the crowd to jump, sing, mosh, and crowdsurf - the holy grail of any good rock show.
This tour was Anberlin’s return after a five year hiatus. They shared their immense gratitude for all the fans who have come to see them, as they “thought there’d be like, five people.” Stephen, the singer, seemed to be an absolute sweetheart. He explained that their family is everything to him and his fellow band members, giving them a huge shout out as they watched from the balcony above. In addition to being family oriented, he explained that everyone has some kind of platform, and it should be used to be the change you want to see. As a result, they partnered with Children International, a nonprofit that works to help children living in poverty. If you signed up to sponsor a child, you were giving a meet and greet pass to hang out with the guys of Anberlin so they could personally thank you. I thought this was absolutely a fantastic idea, and I hope to see more bands follow in their footsteps to help make a positive impact in the world. In addition to being genuinely good guys, they put on one hell of a show.
Being the last night of the current Irving Plaza, they encouraged the crowd to go as crazy as they could, saying “if we don’t break something, something’s wrong with us.” Like most bands, they did the whole fake ending encore thing that I never really understood. Their fake last song, Feel Good Drag, was crazy upbeat, the crowd jumping in sync through the whole number until Stephen jumped into the crowd to crowd surf. They came back on with (*Fin), a much slower number, giving the audience a chance to slow down after a night of mostly hardcore head banging. Overall, I The Mighty and Anberlin gave the last night at Irving Plaza the goodbye it deserved.
All Photos by Angelica Negron