Who: I The Mighty, Anberlin
Where: Ace of Spades, Sacramento, California
When: June 18
Tuesday’s show was obviously a show filled with love, not just between the fans, but also between the bands playing. I The Mighty shared their own serendipitous moments by recalling how they met on Anberlin’s last Warped Tour performance and then found themselves pleasantly surprised to be asked to open for Anberlin on their unexpected reunion tour.
The fact that a band of I The Mighty’s stature would agree to this is a surprise only because of their own status: they are not simply openers, they are peers of Anberlin. Beyond that supposed “line-up” qualification, the reason is simple: their sound fits perfectly with Anberlin. Aesthetically, they are on the same level and the quality of music they shared with the audience proved that they aren’t just some “filler” spot. Lead singer Brent Walsh’s exclamation that “Anberlin are sweethearts” and assertions that they love watching the band was backed up by the fact that they watched excitedly from the Press Area as they played.
I The Mighty was incredible and definitely worth seeing. Their music has a playfulness that melds with depth appropriate for the overall night. They’re not there for any other reason than they love to play for a great crowd. I’d heard their records in passing, but when I saw them live, I was thoroughly impressed. Fans sang along and they fed on that energy to present an energetic feast for a crowd that was won over instantly.
When “Degenerates” drew a large howl from the crowd, it was obvious that they had tapped to an energy that was quietly bubbling just below the surface. Bass player Chris Hinkley’s vocal harmonies and solo moments drew enthusiasm as the perfect counterpoint to Walsh’s energy.
Anberlin arrived on the stage with a burst of energy typical of their standard opening song, “Godspeed”, but also with the surge of I The Mighty’s stage presence behind them, and the simple fact of them having been away for so long.
I’ve seen Anberlin many times over the years, and they’ve never sounded better. They needed this break to spread apart and return with renewed spirit and energy. They were more playful with the crowd. When a fan announced that “Inevitable” had been the song he’d had for his wedding dance, the band implored the crowd to give them space to recreate their wedding dance, to which the crowd acquiesced with small flames alight. It was a magical experience.
Everyone was screaming along for their entire set.
The main difference between the two bands was obvious halfway through Anberlin’s set. Anberlin, through its own doing, has become a heritage band; they were touring with their old hits simply to bring their incredible back catalog to their fans. I The Mighty was promoting an impeccable new album, Cave In, and showed that fans of Anberlin’s sounds, themes, energy, and overall performance should pick that up.
I won’t say it’s a “passing of the torch” so much as an acknowledgment that, although Anberlin has left, their overall sound and process is being carried on by a newer generation of music that doesn’t always get the exposure it deserves. So bravo to Anberlin, for still being great and proving that greatness is still out there, even if it’s not them
Post and gallery by Justin Bowman
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