ANATHEMA – Live @ Glasgow ABC2 (21/09/2014)


The first of the UK mainland run of dates to promote the latest album “Distant Satellites” from Liverpool’s Anathema, kicks off in Glasgow on the last Sunday night of Summer. The heat inside saw no sign of waning, this was a sweatbox; but it did not matter one jot.  Like much of the rest of the tour, this was sold out well in advance and the demand for tickets to see the enduring masters of melody and melancholy continues to exceed availability and the lucky attendees were thrilled with a magnificent performance.

Anathema2014EuThe crowd flooded in immediately as the doors are opened and many remained steadfast in the preferred positions for both bands.  Support for the tour is Austrian madcap act, Mother’s Cake; both eclectic and seamless, the three-piece instantly draw in the early crowd and lift the expectation of what is to follow even further.  The band meld elements of so many incredible bands with skill and deliver a set of instantly loveable self-penned material with appeal across alternative, rock and metal genres fit to rival many of the greats. Expect to hear more about these guys after this tour.

Anathema have been synonymous with excellence throughout their evolving career, producing album after album of trans-genre perfection and are held in the highest esteem by many from varied backgrounds and tastes.  It almost defies belief that such a brilliant band can easily outshine their compelling studio output on stage, but they continue to prove this time and again.  Of course, they are no stranger to the stage and comfortably make the venue their own.

Innovative and creative, the early doom pioneers have matured and grown so far, but continue to soar higher year after year, their sound increasingly bolstered on each subsequent recent release by the increasing use of Lee Douglas’ enchanting vocals as well as the addition of Daniel Cardoso (having previously worked with Danny Cavanagh in Leafblade and with Kristoffer “Garm” Rygg in Head Control System) on keyboards and drums as the need arises.  Lee’s stunning vocals simply captivate; the live arena is at her complete command, the mesmerised crowd hanging on every note.  This secret weapon is used sparingly, complimenting and harmonising with brother Danny and Vincent Cavanagh, but expands the repertoire significantly.

The set pulls heavily on the new album being promoted, “Distant Satellites”; with over half the tracks being performed, but also with tracks from “Weather Systems”, “We’re Here Because We’re Here”, “A Natural Disaster” and a finale from “Alternative 4”IMG_0975

As a long-standing fan, having seen the band on many occasion since my first time 21 years ago, my expectation are always high; often unrealistically so.

Simply unmissable.

BYKER GRAVE FESTIVAL – The Globe, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (08/12/2013)

BykerGrave13A true DIY event born out the ashes of Northern Darkness Festival by local promoters ‘Kin Hell Fest, Bro(UK) Promotions and Omega Warfare Records.  Essentially completely “Crowd Sourced” via Facebook, with even the name of the Festival itself being decided on from a whole manner of ridiculous suggestions referencing / taking the mick out of Newcastle, however eventual moniker Byker Grave was always a clear winner as soon as it was suggested.

Being a Northern Darkness refugee with Hotel & transport booked, fellow TMA scribe Alex and I decided to make the trek as neither of us have been to the Land Of Geordies and safe to say probably ended up having more fun than we would have had at the original event! Continue reading

NEW MODEL ARMY & Monster Jaw – Live @ The Garage, Aberdeen (12/11/2013)

NMA Aberdeen 12112013The first and Northernmost night of the UK Tour, Bradford’s New Model Army thrill Aberdeen in support of their latest highly acclaimed album, “Between Dog And Wolf”.

With a formidable live reputation they always have their own achievements to be measured against, and tonight as ever, the legendary Rock Band do so with ease and deliver another incendiary show that puts the majority of bands to shame. Continue reading

NORDIC GIANTS – Live @ The Lexington, London (01/10/2013)

NordicAnd now for something completely different.

“Cinematic Ambient Soundscape” is not a style I would normally follow but when the live performance is this good…

A discovery made when they initially supported God Is An Astronaut a few years back and then intrigued sufficiently to watch Nordic Giants at ArcTanGent Festival were they blew me (and everyone else) away with an amazing performance, so here I was again in London for the EP release show “Build Seas, Dismantle Suns”. Continue reading

ArcTanGent FESTIVAL, Somerset (28/08/2013 – 31/08/2013)

Arc2013“From the makers of 2000trees, ArcTanGent is a new 3,000 capacity festival featuring bands & DJs of a more Experimental / Post-Rock / Progressive / Leftfield variety… think bands like Mogwai, Explosions In The Sky, Battles, The Mars Volta, 65daysofstatic, Fuck Buttons, And So I Watch You From Afar, Three Trapped Tigers and Fantomas”

Well with a mission statement like that how can I not have been excited! Happily (with the help of Damnation Festival) they well and truly delivered. Continue reading

CANDLEFEST (Day 3) @ The Underworld, London (26/08/2013)

Candlefest13The Oxfordshire based Candlelight Records hosted it’s now annual feast of delights from its current roster of bands at The Underworld in Camden Town, over 3 days. Sadly I couldn’t attend days 1 & 2 because of other commitments, but I hear from other notable attendees that Anaal Nathrakh laid waste to the subterranean venue on the Friday with Altar Of Plagues bowing out for good apparently on the Saturday with an emotional set. I wish that I could have been there.

However, I made it on Sunday for what was for me one of the best line ups for ANY gig/festival thus far in 2013.   Continue reading

WINTERFYLLETH, EASTERN FRONT & JØTNARR – Live @ Colchester Arts Centre (13/07/2013)

TMA Winterfylleth at Colchester Arts Centre July 2013 450x600

Having favourite bands and venues can be a frustration when they rarely combine; the preferred bands are frequently placed in less than ideal venues.  However, sometimes the stars align and the experience is enhanced by the act and the location making the performance more than the sum of its parts.   Unfortunately, when such a pairing is such a long way away from home, it is a battle for common sense and compulsion to decide… so a flight was booked to take me back to one of my old haunts in England.  Compulsion is so much more rewarding! Continue reading