Anathema live at Sub89 Reading – 08/11/2016

Anathema embarked on a mini-tour at the start of the month playing several shows in the UK and on the continent, with a two hour set showcasing new music alongside popular favourites. As part of the tour they came to Sub89 in Reading. With no support they played an electric set, bringing the same passion and energy found on their albums to the live stage, leaving one feeling very excited for the new album.

The band begun with a new song Gotyou To, a new piecin their usual style, unfortunately marred as the sound was muddy and Danny’s guitars quite low in the mix, but the sound team did a good job rectifying it as the show went on, after the first four songs it sounded fine. From the new track they moved into more familiar territory with Untouchable Part 1 & 2, a chance to get the cloud clapping along with an energetic and emotional performance as ever from vocalists Vincent and Lee, while Thin Air has an electrifying atmosphere that always fills any venue they play, small or large.

With three more new songs in John Martyn, Ghosts and Springfield, each showed the touch of class that they bring to their song writing. The former was a vocal-centric track, giving Vincent a chance to shine against an indie-rock sounding piece, while Lee’s beautiful voice lights up Springfield, her cooing vocals singing melancholy lyrics against soft piano and expressive guitar melodies, Vincent joining her in the middle of the song. Lee’s voice is beautifully soft and expressive and she should really be used more by Anathema, spending a good deal of time off the stage in most of their performances.

Some of the other new tracks  later in the set had more than a touch of a Radiohead vibe with an indie-rock leaning and those who weren’t convinced with the introduction of electronic elements on the most recent album Distant Satellites may not be overjoyed to learn they are continuing in this direction, but when they play this album’s titular track they should convince anyone – the lyrics and soft vocals from both Vincent and Lee combine with the electronic drumbeat resulting in a hauntingly beautiful song, and the new tracks with these elements work equally well. Closing their set with A Natural Disaster, with Lee giving it her all on one of her more powerful performances, and the ever emotional Fragile Dreams, Anathema show that old or new, they’re always going to be a special band live and on record, full of feeling, emotion and passion. There’s no indication of when a new album might drop, but rest assured it’s going to be another great one.

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