Indie Year 2000

Modified offers alternative to downtown drudgery and Mill Avenue dips

In 1998, the Anniversary -- guitarists/vocalists Josh Berwanger and Justin Roelofs, bassist James David, drummer Christian Jankowski and keyboardist Adrianne Verhoeven -- signed with Heroes & Villains Records, an imprint of Vagrant Records owned by the Get Up Kids.

The Get Up Kids further took the Anniversary under their proverbial wing, taking the band on tours across America and Europe. The international jaunt proved an especially successful adventure, the kind that even the most seasoned indie bands struggle to experience (it took the Valley's own Jimmy Eat World several years and two major-label albums to do it).

"We're really super lucky," says Verhoeven of the experiences of the past year. "We put out a record, our label pushed it a lot, we got a lot of good press, we went on some good tours, y'know. We're very pleased with where we're at now."

The Anniversary: Breaking down at Modified this week.
The Anniversary: Breaking down at Modified this week.

As a cohesive unit, the Anniversary is the modern-day American equivalent of Britain's lamented Huggybear, albeit without the endless barrage of sexual/gender-role subject matter. At its most cacophonous, as on "Emma Discovery," the band combines a riotous attack of New Wave synth flavors overlaid with harmonies that temper the melodic guitar attack. When the Anniversary is subdued, like on "Shu Shubat," the band creates a soundtrack for Valium-induced cloud gazing (this Valium cloud-gazing thing is not a metaphor; try it sometime, you'll be impressed . . .)

For those who prefer their aural sensitivity in the emo-boy rock vein, the final track, "Outro in No Minor," could sate any weeping teen's yearning for a band that understands; the loneliness expressed so eloquently on this opus is pained yet stoic, ending with Verhoeven singing the lines, "The end of this night we'll remember -- it redesigns our lives."

With the yearlong lapse since the release of Designing a Nervous Breakdown, the band has catalogued a mass of new tracks to record for its sophomore effort. For those curious as to the direction the Anniversary is heading, check out the acoustically informed epic "I Believe That the End of the Reign of Terror Is Soon Near," on Vagrant Records' new Another Year on the Streets compilation.

Meanwhile, the group has just finished the last leg of the year's final tour. The band's upcoming Valley performance will serve as an epilogue to its Y2K road tripping. "Yeah," laughs Verhoeven, "then we go home for a long time." -- Brendan Kelley

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