Concert Reviews

Anathema / Alcest (Prague) Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 22, 2017    
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Anathema / Alcest - Lucerna Music Hall, Prague (Czech Republic) - 28 October 2017

What a fantastic venue the Lucerna Music Hall in Prague is. It is situated inside an arcade, just off Wenceslas Square in the centre of Prague. It felt warm and welcoming as well as unique in that the stage was very low and shaped in a semi-circle which meant we got close up and personal with the band. The venue holds approximately eight hundred and tonight it was sold out and packed to the rafters.

The sound was a huge improvement on the first gig of the tour in Glasgow, so much so that support band Alcest actually sounded better to my ears. Musically, they are very interesting, but again I will never get into them in a big way due to the frequent screaming and growling vocals. However, tonight they went down well with the crowd.
Anathema hit the stage to the sound of Tangerine Dream at seven thirty and proceeded to give the enthusiastic and appreciative Prague audience two hours of wonderfully atmospheric and emotionally-charged Rock music. One thing that was immediately evident was the fact that John Douglas – the band's drummer – was missing due to family circumstances. His role was taken over by the band's keyboard player Daniel Cardoso and if you didn't know better, you would have sworn this was his daytime job. Keyboard duties were shared between Danny and Vincent Cavanagh, and though stripped down to a five-piece, the music lost none of its power, from start to finish.

The set-list was rather different from Glasgow, with a few omissions and a larger number of added songs. The band had more time to breathe on this occasion with no curfew to worry about. They seemed far more relaxed as a result, apart from an altercation between Danny Cavanagh and a guy in the audience who was rather over enthusiastic in his use of a large mobile device to film the band.

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The new tracks from 'The Optimist' again sounded superb live and I was delighted and surprised when the album closer 'Back To The Start' was played. What an awesome and uplifting song this is and tonight the band delivered the goods. Other highlights for me were the duo from 'A Fine Day to Exit', namely 'Barriers' and 'Pressure', which together were perfect for the set. Songs like 'A Simple Mistake' and 'Distant Satellites' also followed and encapsulated all there is to enjoy about the band's music; atmospherically-charged soundscapes with ever changing moods submerged in haunting melodies. A major factor in the band's sound was the stunning vocals of Lee Douglas. This is the best I have heard her and the contrast between her and Danny and Vincent's Cavanagh's vocals was mesmerising.

There were a couple of surprises as the band played 'Albatross', the old Fleetwood Mac instrumental, before Danny Cavanagh performed a solo rendition on the piano of 'The Exorcist' from his new solo album, which was very emotional as well as simply stunning!

I spent a wonderful evening in the company of a tremendously talented bunch of musicians and it is a gig that will live long in my memory.

Robin McGhie

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