Anathema, Alces

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Anathema, Alces

Anathema, Alces – Toulouse (France): Le Metronum – 11 October 2017

For many years now, I've been interested in Progressive and Melodic Rock which could be either atmospheric and alternatively very powerful. That was the reason why I couldn't pass up the opportunity to attend Anathema's concert that took place in my city. I have been deeply fascinated by their music and its evolution over the decades. It reminds me of The Gathering and I have to admit to being sad that I did not have the chance to see them perform live. However, the many collaborations between Daniel Cavanagh (Anathema) and Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering, Agua de Annique, The Gentle Storm, Vuur) confirm that both Anathema and The Gathering are strongly connected and followed a similar path through the years, starting from a very powerful Female-Fronted Metal style that then headed towards Progressive and Atmospheric Rock. That makes them icons and references of this genre for me.

The supporting act tonight was a French band called Alcest. They define their music as being Post-Black Metal. Whilst that might put off some of our site's readers, what I can say is that they were very professional and played a very interesting gig. Mostly instrumental, with few lyrics, the crowd appreciated their rough and strong melodies during the nearly one hour performance. The band looked really happy to play in France and certainly appeared to win some new fans during the evening. It's not every day that a supporting act is worthy of recommendation, but I do so without any hesitation.

AnathFrance2

At 10pm, Anathema jumped on stage with a video-screen replacing the usual and traditional backdrop. John Douglas was sadly not there because he had to stay with his family, but their second drummer, the super talented Daniel Cardoso, was joined by Jamie Cavanagh on 'San Francisco' (from the last album 'The Optimist') whilst Vincent Cavanagh played the keyboard. Quickly, Daniel Cavanagh and Lee Douglas appeared on stage and the band started 'Untouchable' with both Part 1 and Part 2 being performed. The second part of this song has always made me feel something special inside and the association between keyboard and emotional voice was magical and it was absolutely charming to witness on stage in the live environment. The audience was captivated, Douglas' voice was perfect and the Cavanagh brothers were very outgoing towards each other, something that gave the show a very friendly vibe visually. Joking, drinking and saying a few words in French, I felt at home, like being with a bunch of friends playing wonderful music in this beautiful modern venue. The gig continued with 'Can't Let Go', 'Endless Ways' and 'The Optimist' which were followed by 'The Lost Song, Part 3', 'Lightning Song' and 'Dreaming Song'. Daniel and Vincent Cavanagh mentioned on several occasions how great the French audiences were, and that it had always been a pleasure for them to play in this country.

They then performed 'Pressure', 'A Simple Mistake' and 'Closer' before they left the stage to allow a video interlude to be played. As a side note, Lee Douglas sang 'A Simple Mistake' despite the fact that Vincent Cavanagh took vocal duties on the studio version. That brought another dimension to the song and the drum part during the second half of the track was absolutely mystic. The encore tonight consisted of 'Distant Satellites', 'Springfield', 'Back To The Start' and 'Fragile Dreams'.
At the end of two intense hours of music, dedicated to music-lovers by music-lovers, the crowd continued to clap for several minutes. I may have missed the last subway and been tired the following day, but I'm so glad I attended this show. I can only say that those guys know how to write and play music.

I would also like to personally add a mention regarding the gig that took place in Paris, at Le Bataclan. Anathema played an additional song that night, 'A Natural Disaster', with the names of the all the victims from the 2015 terror attack in this venue on the video-screen.

Julien Marbaix

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