Cult emo darlings the Anniversary celebrate 20 years since their sudden rise and fall | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Cult emo darlings the Anniversary celebrate 20 years since their sudden rise and fall

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In January 2000, as the likes of Sunny Day Real Estate and the Get Up Kids led emo’s second wave, a group of five young adults from Lawrence, Kansas, calling themselves the Anniversary released a striking debut. Built around the dueling guitars and vocals of Josh Berwanger and Justin Roelofs and backed by the infectious Moog lines and high vocal harmonies of Adrianne Verhoeven, Designing a Nervous Breakdown (Vagrant) earned the quintet a cult following. Widely considered one of the best emo albums of the era, the LP was also their last in that style—the Anniversary’s second and final record detoured into classic rock and indie psychedelia, with Moog replaced by organ and piano and its aggressive riffs and angsty roars traded for Tom Petty twang and slightly more subdued vocals. Internal conflicts broke up the Anniversary in 2004; in 2016, minus Roelofs, they reunited for a short tour. Now those members are back to perform a handful of two-set shows around the midwest, with their first sets consisting of Breakdown start to finish and the second focusing on its follow-up, Her Majesty (Vagrant, 2002). The Anniversary may not have experienced an American Football-level resurgence, but emo aficionados have bestowed a similar posthumous respect on their first album. Considering the band’s history, this might be the last time to hear its songs (and them) live.   v

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