A Day in the Life of The Anniversary

Music Galleries The Anniversary
Share Tweet Submit Pin
A Day in the Life of The Anniversary

The 14 years since proto-emo pioneers The Anniversary broke up are both appropriately evident in some ways and completely invisible in others.

Exhibit A: keyboard player and vocalist Adrianne DeLanda (formerly Verhoeven) is accompanied on tour by her four-month-old son, Emilio, who demonstrates a zen calm even the most road-hardened musician would admire. Another addition to the Anniversary family, Ricky Salthouse, has taken the place of original guitarist Justin Roelofs. In addition to DeLanda, guitarist/vocalist Josh Berwanger, bassist Jim David and drummer Christian Jankowski, who also played together in The Only Children, are in as rare a form as they were when Bill Clinton was still in office.

Musically, the group sounds like a seamless continuation from the days of 2002’s melodic Vagrant Records benchmark, Your Majesty, defying any potential rust that pops up with kids, jobs and late 30s-hood. This accolade can’t necessarily be applied to the current Renaissance of other emo staples with wives and children reminiscing about dying of loneliness in their parent’s basement.

That divide is also indicative of what makes The Anniversary such a beloved cult rarity—their sound flits regally between classic rock bravado and Beatles-perfect harmonies between DeLanda and Berwanger. Your Majesty, which recently saw a vinyl release, fits more in the intellectual, alterna-pop of The Talking Heads and The Rentals than anywhere else. Berwanger, clad in a jean jacket with Motorhead and Megadeath patches, doesn’t identify exclusively with the genre either, citing ‘80s metal as a key inspiration, which admittedly, describes their sound as well as anything heard on the aughities Warped Tour.

The Anniversary’s tour swept through a handful of states and festivals—starting with last July’s Taste of Chaos Festival alongside The Get Up Kids, who first signed the band to Vagrant in 1999. The shows mainly covered the Midwest and East, including a sold-out Bowery Ballroom stop, a layover in Detroit (whose crowd, by far, should know who puts “The D in Detroit;) and last Saturday’s conclusion in the group’s hometown of Lawrence, KS.

Paste spent a solid afternoon and night alongside the band and the atmosphere felt just as much like a family reunion as a musical one. Berwanger straddles the line between camp counselor and cheerleader, an ultra-extravert who hugs on sight and offers food off his dish. The moody rumination of The Anniversary’s debut album, Designing A Nervous Breakdown, felt at ends with a group that can seamlessly replicate scenes from the lamest, if most endearing, Friday the 13th movie (which Berwanger calls the best) and spend hours playing HORSE before showtime.

Check the gallery above for a photo essay detailing the downtime shenanigans and live performance of The Anniversary.