The Anniversary brought their reunion tour to Bowery Ballroom for a high energy show full of nostalgia.
They may not rank as high as their emo contemporaries like Saves the Day, the Get Up Kids, Texas is the Reason, or even American Football, but for a select crowd the Anniversary still means a great deal. These days their lyrics are more of a nostalgic joy ride, but in the early aughts they were deeply emotional and highlight the pains that came with suburban teenage angst. Their synth driven music made them stand out amongst their emo counter parts and personally, they were the band that tied together emo and synth-pop, bridging a gap that led to an emotional rollercoaster through my teenage years. Almost fifteen years since they initially called it quits, the band has now joined the reunion circuit and their music feels as fulfilling now as it did during turbulent high school times. They opened with "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter", the first track from their (still) great debut Designing a Nervous Breakdown, complete with an emphatic "woo!", and the crowd instantly took control. While the band genuinely seemed to enjoy their time together on stage, it was really the crowd that owned the night. People screamed along to every word, reeling on the fact that many thought they'd never hear this stuff live again, or perhaps they were living through it for the first time. Musically, the band was tight. They had no faults and played each track to perfection, often knowing that the crowd could probably do a better job singing than the band themselves. Still, they never showed signs of boredom or regret. Really, this truly felt like a massive thank you to their audience. Classics like "All Things Ordinary" and "Perfectly" rang supreme as the venue lit up with euphoria. Strangers grabbed each other to shout along to every word, full embraces by complete strangers harnessing the triumphant joy that these songs showcase. It felt like a celebration for everyone that needed this band a decade ago and still appreciates the meanings each lyric holds today. Never have I ever seen a crowd sing the tune of a song before the encore to get the band back on stage, but this happening sincerely marked a special evening. As the drums to "Sweet Marie" kicked off the encore, a whole new rush of emotions kicked into gear. It was a sense of remembrance that really hit home. A soundtrack to dark drives through desolate towns that suddenly came to life. The night concluded with "D in Detroit" which resulted in a full collapse of feelings, everyone rushing the stage and feeling united. For those who grew up with this music, it acted as an escape from the world and tonight it brought together strangers in celebration of finding a sense of home. It unearthed feelings that had gone unremembered for over a decade and resurrected them to once again touch upon emotions from days long gone.