This show had the distinction of being the first 18+ show I have ever attended. It honestly didn't make that much of a difference, I think, as there were still plenty of girls that looked like they were 13 regardless - either the Abbey Pub doesn't card anyone for these shows, or these girls hid behind fat guys like me to get in. Anyway. The venue itself, the Abbey Pub, is incredibly nice - the stage was kind of cramped, but plenty of space for the audience, and there really wasn't a bad view in the house. I'm definitely planning on going back as soon as I can [which will probably be the Cursive/The Ghost show on 6/28 there, rock!]. Okay, enough small talk, on to the bands.
Up first was the Happy Supply. This band singlehandedly takes the award for the worst live band I have seen in quite some time. The group consisted of a guy on guitar, a girl who "played" keyboards [barely], and a drum machine. Halfway through their entirely too long opening set, they switched instruments, and the music actually got a little bit better. It was obvious the guy of the group was a more talented musician, as the girl struggled just as much on guitar as she did on organ. Either way, the set was completely painful. I wish Happy Supply on no man.
Up next was the Reputation. This band features Elizabeth Elmore of Sarge fame. I've never been one to hide my feelings for Sarge - I thought they were godawful. When the Reputation's CD came in the mail for review, I expected more of the same and was pleasantly surprised. The album [review coming soon, I promise] is a more well rounded creation, with just enough bite to it's pop. Live, the band was almost 100% faithful to the recorded versions, sounding a bit like Hankshaw [just with an actual girl singing]. They played the best songs off their CD ["The Stars Of Amatuer Hour" and "She Turned Your Head"] as well as some new material, all of which had heads bobbing [and one really enthusiastic guy up front throwing the rock sign after every song]. They were respectable.
Speaking of reputations, Detachment Kit is certainly building one. Based out of Chicago, these guys are getting so much buzz in the underground it's ridiculous. I usually don't buy into hype, and this was no different - until they started to play. Imagine Fugazi getting knocked up by Managra, naming their kid Cursive, and having him get in fights every day with At The Drive-In. You might get an idea of what these kids sounded like. The bassist was crazy, their guitarist played a wicked Flying V, and their singer scaled the walls up to the balcony, and then jumped off. The crowd was electric, and the band completely fed off of it. This band is now on my "must see again" list. I recommend you see them for the first time, before everyone else does.
Finally, the Anniversary took the stage at 11 PM. Launching into a rousing rendition of "Never Die Young" off their fantastic new LP "Your Majesty," the band was dead on for the next 75 minutes straight. Second on the set was "The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter," and this band played it with a fury that I haven't seen from very many people. Their amps were cranked up to 11, the audience was bouncing around in bliss, and this was only the second song! Where could they go from here? Simple, into a drastically reworked version of "Anais" off their split EP with Superdrag. Instead of doing the eerie, folksy feeling present on that recording, the band turned it into a rock and roll, early-Beatles feel pop song and it rocked. Three songs in, and I was already going nuts.
The set went on to include one more oldie [a wickedly jammed out version of "Perfectly"] but mostly focused on new material. "Sweet Marie," "Crooked Crown," "Peace, Pain, and Regret," "The Siren Sings" and "Devil on my Side" all showed up at various points during the hour. The band closed out the hour with "O Lady Butterfly" [also off their Superdrag split] which was segued into "Your Majesty" album closer "The Death of the King." But this was no album version - the band doesn't seem to be content with what they recorded, as they played around with the song structures, tempos and melodies all night long. This was a common occurance for the majority of the set, which really made the whole time worthwhile for the audience.
After the band left the stage, the crowd wouldn't go so easily. A well-deserved encore was called for, and as the band retook the stage, they treated the audience to "The Ghost of the River" and "Tu-Whitt Tu-Whoo." The band then said goodnight for good, and Abbey Pub emptied onto the Chicago streets, abuzz with the rock spectacle that had just taken place. With this show, the Anniversary has now made my list of bands that I am willing to drive long distances/go through extreme circumstances for [other bands that are worthy of a full tank of gas and/or a missed class in the morning include the Weakerthans, Dismemberment Plan, Superdrag, Weezer, the Faint, Cursive, Ted Leo, and Engine Down]. This band seems to constantly want to reinvent itself - I honestly cannot wait for them to get back in the studio. I have a feeling this band is only getting started.