The Anniversary broke up so abruptly in January 2004 that many of its fans never had a chance to see the Lawrence band perform live.
But in 2015, the Anniversary announced a reunion tour, to the delight of fans pining to see them again or for the first time ever. The itinerary included a stop at the Bottleneck in Lawrence in September. Wednesday night, they indulged about 100 Kansas City fans with a show at RecordBar.
The reunion shows feature four of the five original members: vocalist/guitarist Josh Berwanger, vocalist/keyboardist Adrianne (Verhoeven) deLanda, drummer Christian Jankowski and bassist James David. Guitarist Ricky Salthouse, a member of Berwanger’s band, Berwanger, fills in for founding member Justin Roelofs.
The Anniversary were by default labeled an emo band, but more than a decade after they released “Your Majesty,” the second of their two full-length albums, they sound like a full-bodied synth-pop/indie-rock band. Their music brims with bright melodies and boy-girl harmonies, clever key changes and compelling shifts in time signatures and dynamics. It’s all irresistible and immediately accessible.
Despite a few sound/equipment issues, including a blown amp, the band delivered a brisk, high-energy set that plumbed both of their albums. They opened with “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter,” a bristling power-pop/indie-rock track from their debut album, “Designing a Nervous Breakdown,” released in 2000. They followed that with another “Nervous” track, “Emma Discovery,” a high-speed pop anthem adorned with bubbly keyboard/organ lines from deLanda and lacquered with sweet harmonies. Then came “Never Die Young,” a song with a Spoon vibe that was initially released on a 7-inch split with the Hot Rod Circuit.
Most of the songs they performed were written when band members were in their early 20s. These days, all are married with children, and though they may have outgrown some of the sentiments expressed, they all seemed to relish the chance to revive the spirit of each song and the time it was written and recorded.
They filled the rest of the 70ish minute set with favorites like “The Siren Sings,” the ominous “Devil on My Side,” the enchanting “Sweet Marie,” all from the ambitious “Majesty” album, and “The D in Detroit,” a “Nervous” track that is a rollicking voyage through keening guitars, hyper-percussive drums, keyboard filigrees and cryptic lyrics about estrangement and the desire to be back together — a fitting close to this show.
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter; Emma Discovery; Never Die Young; Tu-Whitt Tu-Whoo; All Things Ordinary; The Siren Sings; Devil on My Side; The Death of the King; Sweet Marie; Perfectly; The D in Detroit