Anberlin gains attention

Stephen Christian, Anberlin’s lead singer, double majored in philosophy and psychology at UCF before forming Anberlin in 2001. PHOTO COURTESY OF NICOLE RORK

With its third album a little more than a month old, Anberlin is facing new exposure. This newfound fame includes headlining its first tour, selling out nearly every show on the tour (24 of its first 26 shows) and making its first television appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

“At first, we were really nervous about (headlining a tour), just because we’d never been on a headlining run before, and we were really concerned that no one would show up,” lead singer Stephen Christian said. “But it was quite exhilarating to find out that so many shows had sold out.”

Tonight, Anberlin is bringing its accomplishments to Jannus Landing in St. Petersburg.

Anberlin’s latest CD, Cities – which debuted Feb. 20 at the No. 19 spot on the Billboard 200 chart – bears the same passionate and original sound as its first releases, with driving guitar riffs and pounding drum beats. However, a maturing sound is evident throughout.

“I think it’s by far our best CD,” Christian said. “I think for sure, it’s the best thing that we’ve ever written.”The album opens with “Godspeed,” which contains the band’s signature sound and is the CD’s first single.

“My favorite song to play live is ‘Godspeed,’ because so many people sing along,” Christian said. “It’s just a lot of fun. … It’s amazing (that people are already singing along). At first, we thought we should play more older songs than newer songs because people aren’t going to catch onto this CD as fast. It’s amazing that people want to hear more of the new songs.”

Anberlin’s lead singer Stephen Christian, left, and bassist Deon Rexroat perform at one of their 24 sold-out shows at St. Andrews in Detroit. PHOTO COURTESY OF NICOLE RORK

Because the songs are based on life experiences, poetic and profound lyrics ensue. In “A Whisper & A Clamor,” Christian addresses the overwhelming apathy people have in America: “Growing tired of bedside resolve / Public display of depression / Something’s got to give now / Something’s going to break down.”

On one of the album’s softer songs, driven by beautiful melodies, Christian passionately sings about saving grace in “The Unwinding Cable Car”: “Emotive unstable, you’re like an unwinding cable car / Listening for voices, but it’s the changes that make us who we are / Go your own way, even seasons have changed / Just burn those new leaves over / So self-absorbed, you’ve seemed to ignore the prayers that have already come about.”

Lost causes and love become the themes of the last two songs, “Dismantle.Repair.” and “(*Fin).”

With a softer rhythm and lyrics such as, “Wish your drinking would hurry and kill you / Sympathy’s better than having to tell you the truth,” interrupted by pulsing drums and guitar and a children’s choir halfway through, the nine-minute song “(*Fin)” easily becomes a favorite song on the album despite its length.

“The last song we play every night (on this tour) is ‘(*Fin),’ and there’s just something different about that song,” Christian said. “It’s really cool, and it kind of brings this great closure to the night.”

Anberlin is based out of Winter Haven, and Christian said the band is excited to play tonight’s show and a show on Friday in Orlando.

“We are so stoked (to play near home),” Christian said. “It just feels great for us to be coming home. … It’s great that both shows are kind of like our homecoming. We’re really excited.”

Anberlin, with opening acts Bayside, Meg & Dia and JonezettaTickets: $14 at the door, $13 in advanceDoors open at 7 p.m.Jannus Landing16 Second St. N.St. Petersburg 33701Note: The venue recently changed from the State Theatre. All tickets for that show will be honored.