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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Live & Dangerous: Opeth & Anathema

Opeth & Anathema - Rock City, Nottingham 12/11/12

Thanks to Paul Hutchings

So it was another road trip to see Opeth for the 8th time, the nearest they've got to home being the O2 in Bristol. This time some strategy was employed, and an overnight stay at the very comfortable Ibis in the City Centre proved the right move

Anathema

When the dates for this tour were announced, one of the things that excited me most was the inclusion of Anathema as support. I've loved their music for a long time, and Judgement ranks in one of my all-time favourites. They aren't prolific at touring so it was with eager anticipation that I waited as the house lights dimmed and they entered stage right. I was not disappointed. Opening with Untouchables Part 1 from the awesome Weather Systems album. The band appeared in total unison with Lee Douglas' vocals supporting the lead from Vincent Cavanagh. The band then went straight into Untouchables Part 2 before five other classics wrapped up their set. These included Thin Air from 2010's fine We're Here Because We're Here and my overall favourite Deep from Judgement. There are few gigs where you find yourself catching your breath but this was genuinely one of those moments. The Cavanagh brothers may lead this band but this is one unit where the sum of the parts is definitely greater. I can't wait to see Liverpool's sons again. 9/10

Opeth

Bang on 9pm (both timing and sound impeccable - full marks to Rock City for that) and Opeth's familiar intro music filled the air. As always, little pretention as Mikael Akerfeldt and the group ambled on before launching into the ferocious The Devil's Orchard. What followed for the next 100 minutes or so can only be described as breath-taking. Those who know me are aware that I can easily run out of superlatives for this Swedish unit, so suffice it for me to say that the musicianship was simply stunning. The band have clearly been preparing for this tour and despite a few first night niggles there is a quality and professionalism about them which sets them apart from many so-called bigger metal brothers. The set list itself was immense; Ghost Perdition and main set closer Harlequin Forest came from the Ghost Reveries album; Burden and Hessian Peel from Watershed, a hauntingly beautiful Hope Leaves from Damnation as well as possibly the heaviest track of their career Deliverance. However more incredibly, given that mouth-watering selection, the Swedes (and Uruguayan) pulled pout White Cluster from Still Life and when I had finally picked my jaw up from the floor they threw in their first live performance of Famine from Heritage which was delivered flawlessly. Throw in the double cover of You Suffer from Napalm Death and Mikael's dry banter and you couldn't have stopped me grinning if you tried. Concluding with, unbelievably, Blackwater Park, this gig moved very close to my second best. This gig was second only to their impossible to beat, Royal Albert Hall show. Overall, as you may have gathered this was one of the best evenings for many a year. Awesome 10/10

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