Liverpool’s death-doom metallers turned prog rockers Anathema yesterday played a stripped down acoustic set at the beautiful Islington Assembly Hall. With Danny Cavanagh on guitar, keyboard and backing vocals, Vincent Cavanagh on guitar and lead vocals, and Lee Douglas on female lead and backing vocals, they played a great set covering a lot of their discography. The band’s keen sense of atmosphere was perhaps even more heightened in the stripped down setting. With the brilliant Untouchable parts 1 and 2 sounding great in their usual setting, acoustically they really gave the vocals more of a chance to shine, and both Vincent and Lee have really beautiful voices, and when all three band members sung together, it was really something to behold. Getting the crowd singing and clapping along with a stripped down sound really gave the show a great atmosphere too. After a few technical difficulties prompted Danny to quip “Who wants to hear perfect music anyway? Not me”, they followed it up with Thin Air and Dreaming Light from We’re Here Because We’re Here. They once again knocked it out of the park with absolutely beautiful vocals and keyboard lines, with the latter being one of the highlights of the set, giving me shivers.
Going back to their older material, they performed a lovely acoustic version of the gloomy Fragile Dreams, from the dark Alternative 4 album, and it was a brilliant rendition, the laid back playing making it brighter than it’s gloomy original. Following it up with Flying, which they hadn’t played in a long time, those beautiful guitar melodies really shined and Vincent’s voice was perfect. With the band asking us all to raise our lighters for the next song A Natural Disaster, Lee Douglas’ voice was amazing, in both it’s power and beautiful tone, and the duet with Vincent was fantastic. The band ended their set by playing the world premier of the title track from their upcoming album Distant Satellites, a really beautiful long one with a haunting atmosphere, which can honestly go down as one of the best the band has written, and leaves me really excited for the new album, as well as completely thrilled by a fantastic performance from an amazing group.
Make sure you can see them live if you get the chance, whether their full on normal shows, or their intimate acoustic shows, they’re a band who know how to craft an atmosphere as well as anyone. And with their new album Distant Satellites coming out tomorrow, there’s a lot more to be excited about from Anathema!