The many moods of emo on display

The Anniversary
Wednesday, Nov. 14
Meow Meow

The Midwest is the birthplace and rightful home of all that is “emo.” Well, what is this emo you talk of? The meaning has changed from it original beginnings. It used to be about the hard-core scene, right? Well, what the hell do I know? All I know is that what was “emo” six years ago is now hard core and what was bubble gum pop then is now called “emo.” Go figure? I could say I hate that title just like everyone else. Heck, I’m no trendsetter here I go. I hate the word emo! There I said it, but I still love the music that has been stereotyped as such.

Let me craft you a little tale of a band that could be, in theory, an emo band. A band called the Anniversary from a mystical, magical land called “The Midwest.” I saw this band in Eugene, Ore.

about a year ago at a super-sleazy, yet somewhat charming in that it’s the crumb bum capital of Lane County, rock club called John Henry’s. I actually went to go see the Get Up Kids and I got a pleasant surprise in the opening band the Anniversary. They rocked my little bottom off.

They defiantly got the whole “emo” pop thing down but they also are innovative with it. The Anniversary gives the pallet much more to contemplate. Sure it gets you bobbing back forth with that whole Get Up Kids, Punk Rock for the sensitive and fragile souls, thing, but they also do a little experimenting. They’re very good at mixing the energy of punk with the sweet, sweet sounds of the Moog (The Moog is an old keyboard made by Bob Moog, the grandfather of frequency analog keyboards.)

Well kids, the good news is they are coming to Portland within the week. So I decided to give you all the run down, the low down, the down low, the skinny on a great band you must check out called the Anniversary.

Still in high school, guitarists Josh Berwanger and Justin Roelofs began laying out a master plan to take over indie rock that would eventually become the Anniversary. “It was the familiar love of new wave rock bands and synth-obsessed pop groups like the Cars and Devo that originally inspired us to form a band,” Berwanger said. The boys then started writing songs together and with keyboardist/vocalist Adrianne Verhoeven (hot damn, this girl is sexy). Playing a limited number of shows and calling themselves the Broadcast, the band was having a hard time finding permanent members to fill the always-changing rhythm section. A few months after Justin, Josh and Adrianne had started their freshman year of college in the fall of 1997, bassist James David and drummer Christian Jankowski joined the band, completing the current lineup. With the arrival of the new rhythm section, the band also changed its name to the Anniversary. The band evolved into a more layered and well thought out sound. Throughout the rest of 1998, the Anniversary continued to perform in the Midwest region alongside other fine rock bands such as Superchunk, Braid, Helium, Kent and The Pulsars. The band also continued to make basement recordings and play shows around the Lawrence area. In the spring of 1999 both Rob Pope and Matt Pryor of the Get Up Kids approached the Anniversary about releasing a full-length album on their own newly self-created record label, Heroes & Villains/ Vagrant Records. In July 1999, the Anniversary headed up to Chicago in order to record their first full-length album Designing a Nervous Breakdown. With the arrival of the new millennium, the members of the Anniversary finally decided to take a hiatus from higher education in order to do some full-scale touring in support of Designing a Nervous Breakdown. The band visited most areas of the United States throughout the spring of 2000, touring with bands such as Love Is Laughter and Hot Rod Circuit. In May, the Anniversary ventured off to Europe, opening up shows for the Get Up Kids.

That’s quite an adventure thus far but the band has much more ahead. The Anniversary and Superdrag have collaborated on a split EP (Vagrant Records) due out next Tuesday. If you are a big fan of At the Drive In, and I know you are, then you must check out Mars Volta (which contains two members of At the Drive In) they are touring the U.S. with the Anniversary. They are all going to rock our little bottoms off at the Meow-Meow next Wednesday Nov.14. It’s an all-ages show, so you have no excuse not to see some amazing rock.