Anberlin booked three consecutive nights at The Floridian Social Club, in St Petersburg, Florida. On August 4, 2022, the first night, the set list was the complete Never Take Friendship Personal album which was released in 2005. On August 5th the set list was the album, Cities released on February 20, 2007 in it’s entirety. And the final night August 6th, the set list included New Surrender, the band’s forth album which was released September 30, 2008. The shows were meant to be just for Anberlin’s fans as these three albums are the fan’s most requested. It’s not the usual fare for a band that just released their ninth album Silverline on July 29, 2022. As one might think, promoting that album would be the priority? But not now, and not on these three special nights.
The Floridian Social Club, in St Petersburg was chosen for Anberlin’s three night residency. The line of fans went down the street in front of the storefronts blocking any chance that they could conduct business as usual. The air was hot and thick as the line continued to grow down the block. It was advertised that the doors opened at 7:00pm, but it was 7:4opm until the entrance into the air conditioning of the Beaux-Arts-style building was granted.
The Floridian Social Club is extremely intimate and has a storied past. The Floridian Social Club building was originally a bank when it was constructed in 1924. In 1950, the building reopened with a new name—The State Theatre, which it remained until it closed it’s doors years later. Major acts have performed in the venue like Matchbox Twenty, Twenty One Pilots, Warren Zevon, Garbage, Sum 41, Saliva, and Tori Amos, to list a few. When the fire department reduced the capacity to 431 in 2017, the State Theatre closed it’s doors. The new owner did renovations to bring the capacity up to 800 and the venue reopened as “Floridian Social Club” in 2020. The remodeled venue now hosts concerts for local, regional, and national musical acts as well as special events.
Inside the stage is about four feet high with curtains on either side at the back of the venue. There is no barrier to keep the crowd at a safe distance from the stage, and there is no area know as the photo pit. At about 8:15pm, the opening band came out on the stage to an ever growing crowd. ’68 is a rocking duo from Atlanta, Georgia. At first glance, when they came out dressed in suits, the assumption could be made that they were a rockabilly band. But, that is far from the truth. The duo face each other on stage giving the audience a side view, a bit unconventional. ’68 was formed in 2013 by vocalist and guitarist, Josh Scogin, formally of the hardcore punk band The Chariot. With drummer, Nikko Yamada, the two entertained the audience for forty minutes with high energy rock n roll.
At one point, looking a but winded, Scogin handed his guitar into the audience to an unsuspecting fan and walked away to get a towel to dry off. He soon returned and retrieved his guitar and continued the show in his high energy performance. They went on to play their six song set, and the show ended with Scogin dismantling Yamada’s drum kit piece by piece off stage as Nikko continued to play down to having only the snare drum left.
Josh Scogin – Vocals, Guitar
Nikko Yamada – Drums
1.) Bad Bite
2.) Whether Terrified or Unafraid
3.) This Life Is Old, New, Borrowed and Blue
4.) Life Has Its Design
5.) TRACK 1 R
6.) The Lesser of Two Upheavals
At around 9:17pm, the capacity crowd gave out a roar as Anberlin took the stage in a blanket of red lights, much in the atmosphere of a death metal band. These three consecutive shows on three nights were for the band’s fans, and they were loud in giving their approval. The general admission standing-room-only floor was packed as well as all of the seats in the balcony. There was a slight surge forward as the band started to play but not in a fashion that anyone would be injured.
This band was formed in 2002 in Winter Haven, Florida, also know as Polk County. This night’s show was the playing of the band’s second album Never Take Friendship Personal which charted at No. 144 on the Billboard 200 bringing the band close to mainstream. Not until the release of the band’s third album, Cities in 2007 did they have their first album reach the Billboard 200 top 20. In 2008, Anberlin had their first No. 1 single, “Feel Good Drag” off their fifth studio album, New Surrender. It peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard 2002 Alternative Rock chart and the band now had over 1,000,000 album sold. Anberlin had a good run but disbanded in 2014. In late 2018 the band had a change of heart, reunited with the original lineup, and started to tour again through the next year. Then on July 29, 2022 they released their ninth album Silverline.
Stephen Christian bantered back and forth with the crowd at his feet between songs all evening. He made references to being from Pinellas county and it being one of the greatest addresses in Florida. He also bantered about finally playing The State Theatre after all these years, as you know you really made it if you get the play The State Theatre!
On this night, the album Never Take Friendship Personal was the board of fare. They played the eleven tracks of the album, but the crowd wanted more. They returned with a four song encore which included the two released singles, “Circles” and “Two Graves” from the album Silverline. That also wasn’t enough and the packed house demanded more which brought the band out for a second encore. They played “Readyfuels” from their first album Blueprints for the Black Market.
About half way into the show, Stephen Christian was teasing a member of the audience that must have requested something off the Blueprints for the Black Market album. Well it seems he granted their wish with the last song of the evening. Everyone left satisfied and happy! Just a note, the stage light presentation could have been greatly enhanced if the lighting engineer did anything other than blanket the stage in just red lighting.
Anberlin is a very good Alt-Rock band and their resurrecting their magic is a good thing. They will be around for a long while if they duplicate what I witnesses with their performance on stage night after night!
Stephen Christian – Lead Vocals, Keyboards
Joseph Milligan – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Deon Rexroat – Bass Guitar
Nathan Young – Drums, percussion
Christian McAlhaney – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
1.) Never Take Friendship Personal
2.) Paperthin Hymn
3.) Stationary Stationery
4.) (The Symphony of) Blasé
5.) A Day Late
6.) The Runaways
7.) Time & Confusion
8.) Feel Good Drag
9.) Audrey, Start the Revolution!
10.) A Heavy Hearted Work of Staggering Genius
11.) Dance, Dance Christa Päffgen
12.) Circles (Silverline 2022)
13.) Someone Anyone (Vital 2012)
14.) Two Graves (Silverline 2022)
15.) Impossible ( Dark Is the Way, Light Is a Place 2010)
16.) Readyfuels (Blueprints for the Black Market 2003)
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Photographer and Editor/Founder of AllMusicMagazine.com. My love of live music has taken me to incredible experiences with the top bands of all time in stadium shows to the smallest venues with equally inspiring musicians. Using the medium of photography and my publication, these memories will last forever.