- Posted on Mar 20th 2011 1:30PM by Mark Collins
Mark Collins for AOL
Kicking off with the smash single 'Stay Kids,' ANR immediately drew in the small, but dedicated, crowd. The dueling piano keys provided the percussion for the track that felt full-bodied with only two speakers on a makeshift stage. The band played 'Big Problem' before slowing things down with 'The Endless Field of Mercury.' Deep, enchanting lyrics filled the space and spilled out onto Seventh Street, especially during 'Year of Solitude Pays Off,' a sprawling, dramatic ballad that really takes off at the end with a multitude of layers.
You couldn't help but wish that the two-man-team based out of Miami had a little more backup power. The accents of complimentary trumpets and other sounds that stand out on the studio version of songs were absent, and held back a good song from turning into a great song.
The band did all it could to keep up with the complex layers their songs dabble in. There were four keyboards on stage, a drum kit and no laptop on the stage, drummer Briant Robertson handled lead vocals and keyboardist Michael John Hancock often took over the percussion with tenuous effort on his array of keyboards.
The band hung low in the middle of their set, but excelled with energy in the beginning and end, which is difficult considering the restaurant patrons that kept interrupting the set to go in for Ethiopian food. But the great ones adjust at SXSW and the duo did well to put on an impressive set under less than ideal conditions, and were grateful for the well-deserved applause they received during their last show of the week.