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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Another Point Of View: Anathema (Review By Paul)

Anathema  - Gloucester Cathedral 15 June 2014

The opportunity to see one of my favourite bands in a unique setting was far too good to turn down and so, two days after seeing Anathema at Download CMH and I arrived in Gloucester with eager anticipation.
Anathema’s set at Download had been a little subdued; blighted by sound problems and glitches in the new technology that has allowed them to continue their progression on their most recent release, the stunning Distant Satellites.  However, in the gothic surroundings of Gloucester Cathedral, over 1000 years old, and a sell-out audience there were no such mistakes again.

To call this Anathema acoustic is possibly a little misleading.  Three members of the current line-up were not present (still partying at Download apparently!) and there was a fair usage of the loops and samples that have become an integral part of the band’s sound.  We did get the three members of the band with the highest profile, brothers Daniel and Vincent Cavanagh and vocalist Lee Douglas.
The set opened with The Lost Song Part 2 from the latest album before the only tracks from 2012’s Weather Systems, Untouchable Parts 1 & 2. These were three beautiful songs to open the evening with acoustics that allowed the songs to be transferred to the acoustic setting with ease. I felt a lump in my throat as the Untouchable double was played, such is the emotion that courses through these tracks. The evening continued with a range of tracks from their back catalogue. Thin Air from We're Here Because We’re Here was breath taking, whilst the combination of Inner Silence from Alternative 4 and the delicate One Last Goodbye from Judgement were superb.

A couple of the new tracks from Distant Satellites were also played. These included my favourite Ariel and the title track. The Cavanagh brothers were on excellent form, bantering with the audience, especially Daniel who described how he had seen and managed to be introduced to Status Quo at Download the day before. The band was clearly inspired by the surroundings, the gothic arches and stained glass windows catching the last rays of sun from the day. Simple and sensitive lighting enhanced the atmosphere throughout. A sing along to Flying demonstrated how tone deaf some of the audience was before we were treated to a short individual set from Daniel including a couple of covers, High Hopes by Pink Floyd and Glory Box by Portishead. Both were fine with the Portishead cover allowing Lee Douglas’s incredible voice to shine, but we did question the necessity when the band has such stunning tracks in their arsenal. Surely Deep or Pressure? Next time guys.

A Natural Disaster and Fragile Dreams from Alternative 4 closed the main set. A Natural Disaster allowing Lee Douglas to once again take the breath away whilst Fragile Dreams got the audience clapping and singing along. After a rapturous ovation an encore of Distant Satellites and Anathema brought a most incredible evening to a close.  A unique setting; a unique band and an honour to have been present. 10/10

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