LIVE: Anberlin, Natives, Fort Hope @ Electric Ballroom, London

By Tamsyn Wilce

It’s time. It’s time to finally say goodbye to Anberlin. The band that grew up alongside us in the early noughties have decided that at the end of their current tour cycle, Anberlin will call it a day and we’ll all carry on remembering them as a band who never quite got what they truly deserved. Alas, as they make their journey across the UK for only three final shows, it all came to a close at Camden’s Electric Ballroom on a wet Friday night. To join them on the road, Anberlin chose two of the UK’s most exciting newcomers, Fort Hope and Natives. Having both released debut records this year, the Electric Ballroom stage is still one of the biggest they’ve had to conquer in their careers so far.

Fort Hope are up first, bursting into ‘The Rapture’ the crowd are instantly mesmerised by the power of Jon Gaskin’s vocal, and the pounding drums that ripple throughout their set. They have such a huge sound, that filled the room from wall-to-wall and they proved tonight that it won’t be long before they break out of the support band slots and dominate as headliners. Natives infectious pop melodies are hard to dislike. As frontman Jim Thomas bounces around the stage, energy oozes out of them as they warm up the crowd with favourites such as ‘Can’t Say No’ and ‘This Island’. The crowd is varied tonight, with fans of all ages filling the venue, yet looking around it’s great to see even grown men falling victim to the catchy riffs and huge choruses that Natives deliver so easily.

With the crowd now nicely warmed up, it was now time to witness the final performance of Floridian outfit, Anberlin. Storming onto stage and into old-time favourite ‘Paperthin Hymn’ the crowd are in uproar. There’s a lot of dedicated fans in here tonight and it’s clear from the outset that the next hour and a half are going to be a rollercoaster of emotions. With seven albums under their belt, there was a lot of anticipation as to what hits would make the setlist, however when the recognisable chimes of ‘Ready Fuels’, ‘Adelaide’ and ‘A Day Late’ appeared, there wasn’t a silent voice in the room. Because, let’s face it as much as a new album has been welcomed, everyone was begging to hear the much-loved, older anthems that built the band up to what they have become. An acoustic interlude of ‘(The Symphony of) Blasé’ and ‘The Unwinding Cable Car’ saw bromances forming within the audience, as the crowd came together to enjoy the more emotional side to Anberlin’s back catalogue, before the band brought it all to a triumphant end on ‘Feel Good Drag’. And with that, we wave goodbye to Anberlin. They gave it their all for the last time, leaving us all with a firm, joyful memory of the band that have been so adored by everyone in the Electric Ballroom, and across the UK for years. TAMSYN WILCE