Thrash Hits

February 21st, 2011

Live: Anathema @ London King’s Cross Scala – 17 February 2011

Anathema promo photo Thrash Hits

As soon as we heard Anathema’ s last record We’re Here Because We’re Here we knew it was going to be a strong contender for Album Of The Year 2010. It’ s not often these days you discover an album that so defiantly establishes itself as an unquestionably flawless slab of musical genius. With rumours that they would be performing this album in its entirety at tonight’s sold-out show, not even a Rob Zombie-sized hangover was going to stop us from being there.

Six things we learnt when Anathema played in London:

  • Label mates North Atlantic Oscillation prove to be a good choice as tonight’s support act. Whilst they aren’t quite as heavy as the headliners, they still share a progressive quality, albeit a more electronic one. Imagine Air with distorted guitars and you wouldn’t be too far off.
  • It’s absolutely buzzing in the Scala tonight. Maybe that’s largely due to this gig being sold out or maybe it’s the rumours flying around about the possibility of We’re Here Because We’re Here being played through, but the atmosphere really is incredible. Their appearance at High Voltage festival this summer should be a big draw for them to build upon.
  • From the opening arpeggios of ‘Thin Air’ to the final crescendo of ‘Hindsight’ , the live playback of We’re Here Because We’re Here lives up to every expectation and then some. The sheer brilliance of Danny Cavanagh’s finest songwriting yet translates very naturally on stage, and the band prove they deserve all the success this album has brought them. Tonight Anathema seem more determined than ever before – embracing and seizing this opportunity to elevate themselves to the next stage of their career.

  • The audience here tonight is an intriguing mix of old and new. Right down the front is a row of delicious Goth girls who enjoy the first half of tonight as much as anyone but as older material is played, transform into furious head-banging, horn-throwing dervishes punctuated with flurries of red and purple hair. The several Porcupine Tree tshirts dotted around the crowd tell the other proggier story.
  • There is an organic simplicity to Anathema’s live shows, which have remained stripped down and gimmick-free throughout their career. It’s a very much “let the music do the talking” approach which serves well in not distracting the listeners from what they are hearing. Given the melodic depth we have learned to expect from Anathema, this more humble format really allows the audience to concentrate on the sagacity and fragility of the music itself.
  • Imagine how much it would fuck with everyone if Anathema took another seven years to release their next record, only to go back to the doom and gloom of their Goth years.

Anathema @ Scala setlist:
Thin Air
Summernight Horizon
Dreaming Light
Everything
Angels Walk Among Us
Presence
A Simple Mistake
Get Off, Get Out
Universal
Hindsight
—–
Deep
Pitiless
Forgotten Hopes
Destiny Is Dead
One Last Goodbye
Empty
Release
Flying
Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd cover by Danny Cavanagh alone)
Closer
A Natural Disaster
Fragile Dreams

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