A few weeks ago I deleted this concert from my interest list, with a certain feeling of regret. In the end Anathema is a band I’ve seen live three times before and even if some might think it’s enough, the reason why I saw them live three times is that they’re worth the attention. And I remember saying, after I attended their last concert 7 years ago, that I want to see them again. Alcest is that French metal band that I missed when living in France. Totally incredible sound, good vocals and not strange at all, even if they sing in French. Thank you Spotify for suggesting them to me more than a year ago. So a sudden decision got me to their concert on Monday evening. The location: Kägelbanan. I’ve never been there but the place is quite cozy and intimate for such a type of concert. Anathema don’t gather huge crowds and usually the people who attend are dedicated fans or really interested in the music, not just people who look for something to pass time with. The concert place has a bit of a problem: if you are not in front or way back or very tall you don’t see much on stage. But the bar is decent and the bartender, or at least the one that helped me with a drink, was absolutely brilliant in doing a great job and putting a smile on my face. Thank you, sir!
Opening act: Alcest. French. To me they sound like very melodic black metal with epic lyrics and good instrumentals, complex melodies but not over-worked, blended perfectly to capture the attention of the listener and of the viewer. Lots of headbanging, really long hair, kind words and good quality music. Below is the song that Spotify suggested for me and that made me curious in giving them a chance. They have other good songs so do give them a good listen.
Anathema. The headliners. Progressive rock from the UK, the guys have started their careers more than a quarter of a century ago as melodic-doom metal with some gothic influences, a bit too depressive and dark. They’ve evolved as artists towards progressive rock and complex songs with really worked-at instrumentals, catchy riffs and lyrics that tell stories, like any progressive band that respects itself and wants to do an awesome job. And besides that they are really talented musicians and they enjoy what they’re doing, or so it seems when you stand in front on the stage. For those of you who don’t know, Anathema has three brothers in the band: Daniel, Vincent and Jamie Cavanagh. Vincent is the one who talks a lot on stage, the main singer, though both him and Daniel take care of the vocals, alongside Lee Douglass. It was the first time they were playing in Stockholm and they were very happy people came to see them. Anathema is a band that interacts with their audience, they talk a lot, they tell stories, they improvise. Not all of these habits are tolerated by some members of the crowd and some of them voiced their disagreement towards long improvised riffs, changes in setlist that led to on-the-spot tuning of guitars or some messed up lyrics or out-of-beat sounds. However, these people can be ignored. Music is not exact science, it’s creative and flexible, and rock concerts are not military parades, they’re small acts of rebellion and fun, and though they have their rules, nobody should disagree with the fact that sometimes these rules can be broken.
At the end of the evening, after almost one hour of Alcest and two and a half of Anathema I can say that I love going to concerts. I probably said that before. The experience of live music, good live music, is unique. The same band can create a different vibe from one concert to the other. Anathema tried to make their new songs sound really good, and focus less on their older hits. In the end it’s their latest album, The Optimist, that they are promoting right now. And I still believe they are worth seeing live, which means that I will probably go see them again if I have this opportunity anytime in the future. Check their live video for Thin Air above and Can’t Let Go, the first single from their latest album.