LIVE REVIEW: Anathema at The Academy

Anathema Tour Poster

Date: 17th April 2015
Venue: The Academy, Dublin
Line-up: Anathema

Anathema are currently commemorating their 25th anniversary, the ‘Resonance’ shows celebrates the band’s strong career with a three-hour set each night spanning their entire discography. To help them with this, former band member’s bassist Duncan Patterson and original vocalist Darren White came along to perform the older material.

The first set focused on the band’s newer material starting with their latest release Distant Satellites and working their way back to 1999’s Judgement. Guitarist and keyboard player Danny Cavanagh opened with the self-titled opus ‘Anathema’, with the crowd stood still taking in the music. The highly emotive vocals and guitar solo are played flawlessly, often sounding better than their studio recordings. Moving along into the title track of the new album, the electronic beats are a sign of the band’s future direction but the live version is an immense improvement on the studio version, giving it more of a band feel. Moving onto 2012’s Weather Systems we have the infamous pairing of ‘Untouchable (Part 1) and (Part 2)’, very much a setlist favorite at this point. The vocal harmonies of Vincent Cavanagh and Lee Douglas are beautiful, with Douglas particularly shining on ‘Part 2’. ‘A Simple Mistake’ from We’re Here Because We’re Here started to get the heads moving with its explosive second half. The band tried to recreate the lights found on their Universal DVD cover by lowering the stage lights and encouraging the crowd to use their phones to light up the venue instead. This little move brought them into ‘A Natural Disaster’, an amazing showcase of Lee’s vocal skills, which left the venue silent listening to her outro. Fan favorite ‘Closer’ was kept in the setlist, the electronic vo-coder vocals and pounding beat always go down a treat live. The set was rounded up with ‘Pressure’ and ‘One Last Goodbye’, the latter in particular coming across very emotional and sincere.

The band moved back in time for the second set, focusing on Alternative 4, Eternity, and The Silent Enigma. Replacing bassist Jamie Cavanagh was Duncan Patterson, a significant influence on the bands material during this era. ‘Fragile Dreams’ got the crowd moving, the iconic guitar lead and upbeat sound had the crowd jumping around. This energy was carried through to ‘Empty’ and the deeply atmospheric ‘Lost Control’, showcasing a fragile side to Vincent’s vocals. From Eternity the band played through the trilogy of title tracks and moved back towards their doom roots, much to the crowds delight. ‘Sunset of Age’ and ‘A Dying Wish’ from The Silent Enigma sounded incredible, with the sound holding up incredibly well considering the album is turning 20 years old this years. It was a little strange at first to hear them sung in mainly clean vocals compared to the originals gruff growls but Vincent carried them brilliantly, giving them a new lease on life. The crowd was really getting excited at this stage, many waiting years to hear these songs played live again.

The final set is what most fans were looking forward to all night. This time the band went right back to the start of their career, with them welcoming up on stage their original vocalist Darren White. Darren’s stage presence was a little more rock star then Vincent’s calm exterior, strutting around stage with a swagger. His behavior seemed a little strange considering the heavy music of this era but he somehow made it work, perhaps it was his genuine excitement at getting another opportunity to play these songs live again for the first time in years. Roaring through breath-taking renditions of ‘Kingdom’ and ‘Mine Is Yours to Drown In (Ours Is the New Tribe)’ from Pentecost III, Darren was simply in his element constantly smiling and gesturing with members of the crowd. Serenades was suitably represented with the crowd going insane for ‘Lovelorn Rhapsody’ and the encore of ‘Sleepless’.

It’s a testament to a band’s career when they can play a 3 hour set spanning their entire career and pull it off as magnificently as Anathema has tonight. The band’s transformation through the years has been nothing short of phenomenal; it was almost like a different band by the end of the show. The Cavanagh brothers, Vincent and Daniel, powered through the entire 3 hour set never letting the quality of the performance drop. However, the tour seemed to have taken its toll on Daniel since he looked fatigued through the show, understandable when playing such a demanding set for consecutive nights. ‘Resonance’ was an amazing opportunity for a fan of the band to have witnessed and Dublin was lucky enough to host the final night of the tour, and perhaps the final performances of some of these songs for years to come.

Set 1: 1999-2014; w/ Current Line-up
Anathema
Distant Satellites
Untouchable, Part 1
Untouchable, Part 2
A Simple Mistake
A Natural Disaster
Closer
Pressure
One Last Goodbye

Set 2: 1995-1998; w/ Duncan Patterson
Bad Speech (Roy Harper song) (intro)
Shroud of False
Fragile Dreams
Empty
Lost Control
Eternity Part I
Eternity Part II
Eternity Part III
Sunset of Age
A Dying Wish

Set 3: 1993-1995; w/ Darren White and Duncan Patterson
Crestfallen (Falling Deeper version)
Sleep in Sanity
Kingdom
Mine Is Yours to Drown In (Ours Is the New Tribe)
Under a Veil (of Black Lace)
Lovelorn Rhapsody
They (Will Always) Die (Falling Deeper version)

Encore:
Sleepless

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