The outdoor concert season is coming to a close, so local alternative-rock fans are looking forward to Channel 93.3’s Big Gig this Saturday with The Smashing Pumpkins, Chevelle, Anberlin and Denver’s Flobots.
While the Smashing Pumpkins are headlining the concert — slated for the Comfort Dental Amphitheatre in Greenwood Village — the music business has been shining a spotlight on Anberlin’s rocketing career.
What: Channel 93.3 Big Gig 2010, with The Smashing Pumpkins, Chevelle, Anberlin, Flobots and more
Chevelle and Flobots
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Where: Comfort Dental Amphitheatre, Greenwood Village
The alt-rockers have been around since 2002, but tunes from their latest CD, Dark Is the Way, Light is a Place, are scoring big with music fans. The album dropped last week, and the debut single, “Impossible,” has been sitting near the top of Billboard’s alternative singles chart.
“Anberlin’s different than a lot of bands from central Florida,” frontman Stephen Christian said. “There’s not many straight-ahead rock bands there, so we wanted to break away and continue to do our rock thing.”
Anberlin has been busy taking its show on the road, and the band clocks in more than 200 concerts a year.
The group honed its rock stylings while gaining momentum on MySpace and PureVolume. Anberlin’s 2008 release, New Surrender, featured the hit single “Feel Good Drag” and it became a top radio track.
“We built the band up brick by brick,” Christian said. “We did a lot of live shows and gained a lot of presence online. We’ve absolutely done a lot of hard work and we do no less than 200 dates a year.
“We love what we do, but it’s all about hard work and determination.”
Christian credits producer Brendan O’Brien with boosting the band’s status. The noted producer’s worked with everyone from Pearl Jam to Mastodon, and he helped Anberlin update its sound for the new release.
“This is the record that’s solidifying everything for us,” Christian said. “Brendan empowered us to make the best record possible — he gave us the tools and showed us how to tighten things up. We really thought about the songs and how they would make the listener feel.
“We also concentrated on making this a whole, complete record and not just a bunch of singles. This record feels less poppy, and it’s a bit heavier lyrically and sonically. The music really takes over your emotions.”
Christian is so confident in the new project that he says people might not recognize his band.
“This record really takes Anberlin to the next level,” Christian said. “People will be blown away and wonder if we’re the same band — that’s how confident I am in this tour. It’s also the first time we’re taking an actual light display out with us.”
Anberlin is touring behind the new CD, but the group’s also promoting Christian’s nonprofit organization Faceless International. The group’s mission statement includes raising awareness about human trafficking and international social issues.
Christian co-runs the organization — and he does this while earning his MBA and fronting Anberlin. The band will be offering information about Faceless International at every tour stop and encouraging fans to get involved.
Faceless International encourages people to buy from fair trade sources, support companies that don’t participate in human trafficking and take part in the organization’s international work.
“We do a lot of things in Faceless International,” Christian said. “We do advocacy, take action and inform people. We talk to anybody that will listen to us and we work alongside local nonprofit groups.
“I’ve worked with them in Haiti and other places, so this has definitely become a focus of mine. In some countries, coffee growers can’t get a fair wage, so they sell their kids into slavery. We’re taking a fair trade coffee company on tour with us to provide coffee and educate people about human trafficking.”
Christian and Anberlin are also intent about taking their new music on the road.
“This next year is going to be absolutely busy,” Christian said. “We’re heading to the U.K., France, New Zealand and Japan. And for the first time, we’re playing Beijing, China.
“We’re going to continuously change ourselves musically and challenge ourselves to keep making creative records.”