For at least a year, I knew Nathan Snell as the quiet, scrawny guy who served me turkey Reubens at the deli by my office. I'm not sure when I realized he was also the man who had been performing melancholy pop tunes under the name Anna Ranger since 2003, but I know I had never seen one of his rare performances until last Saturday evening at Used Kids.

For at least a year, I knew Nathan Snell as the quiet, scrawny guy who served me turkey Reubens at the deli by my office. I'm not sure when I realized he was also the man who had been performing melancholy pop tunes under the name Anna Ranger since 2003, but I know I had never seen one of his rare performances until last Saturday evening at Used Kids.

Snell used to play solo, singing over canned compositions inspired by the likes of Pet Shop Boys and Giorgio Moroder. I imagine it sounded something like "Honey Come Back I Want to Screw," one of the songs streaming on Anna Ranger's MySpace page.

Over time, Snell's live show has evolved to include more players. At this point he's backed by two veteran Columbus rockers of high repute, bassist Philip Park (Haynes Boys, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, etc.) and drummer Sam Brown (Gaunt, New Bomb Turks, The Sun, RJD2, etc.)

As a result, an Anna Ranger show feels less like a 1980s Euro disco than a tribute to the jangly Britpop of the same decade. While kindred spirit Stephin Merritt morphed Magnetic Fields from synth pop into lush chamber pop, Snell and his players have evolved Anna Ranger into something crisp, lean and organic. Saturday's show was straightforward and energetic; the first song even reminded me of the smart and sprightly French pop combo Phoenix.

That's not to say it was a particularly charismatic performance. Snell is as understated on stage as off it, standing still with a blank stare and the occasional wry smile while casually strumming bright, chiming guitar chords. Brown, who always wears the thrill of drumming on his face, brought pep to the proceedings, but it likely wasn't enough to appease music fans who demand bands "put on a show, man!"

I can sympathize with that philosophy when stoic performance is paired with perilously bland music, but Snell's songs kept me entertained without antics, making every part of his minimal arrangements count. The music was downright snappy, the vocals deadpan yet debonair.

Suffice it to say if Anna Ranger follows through on tentative recording plans later this year, I'll gobble that album up faster than I consume Snell's turkey Reubens.