Anathema at the Button Factory – Review and Photos
A torrential downpour of September rain is literally “the storm before the calm”; herding a capacity crowd into the Button Factory to welcome British prog rockers Anathema back to Dublin. They last played Dublin almost two years ago, supporting Opeth in Vicar Street; a venue that transpired to be too ambitious for the event in question. This time around, however, Anathema have succeeded in filling the more modest Temple Bar music centre with several hundred fans, old and new.
Support tonight is from Austrian progressive rock three-piece, Mother’s Cake, who are accompanying Anathema on their extensive “Satellites Over Europe” tour through to November. They kick off at the unusually early 18:45 start time, in front of an already admirable audience who are treated to their instantly enjoyable and catchy tracks with memorable groovy bass lines and rhythms.
Some technical issues in the form of a misbehaving microphone and a creeping bass drum prompt drummer and backing vocalist Jan Haußels to sing “The microphone cable is bad, please get a new one”. He jokes that the difficulties are all just part of the show and while a technician replaces the mike, the band jam an extended intro to their popular single ‘Soul Prison’. The epically long final song culminates in a rocking climax and is met with hoots and hollers aplenty, thus whetting the appetite of the swelling crowd, leaving them in anticipation of an indulgent entrée.
What better way to lament the end of the Summer weather than with the emotional offerings of Anathema; a band that have evolved continuously over the twenty-four years since they launched their career as a teenage doom metal band. Since then, their sound has completely changed to become more atmospheric, experimental and progressive. At their core are three brothers; Vincent, Daniel and Jamie Cavanagh, siblings John and Lee Douglas, and more recently, drummer Daniel Cardoso. The sextet regularly shuffle duties between (and during) tracks, alternating between drums, keyboards, guitars, and vocals.
At 8pm sharp, they open with ‘The Lost Song – Part 1’ and ‘Part 2’, the first two tracks from their latest and highly acclaimed album Distant Satellites, followed by the first two tracks, ‘Untouchable, Part 1’ and ‘Part 2’ from their previous 2012 albumWeather Systems. The audience are immediately entranced by the hypnotic tracks as the band perform, barely visible, in almost complete darkness, adding to the overall atmosphere of the occasion.
One track seems to blend into the next, making it easy to lose sense of time or place as the music envelops the entire venue. During ‘Ariel’ in particular, fans in the audience are observed, eyes closed, soaking up every note and every moment of the performance. A mid-set wake-up call of ‘The Storm Before The Calm’ from Weather Systems is one of the heavier tracks of the night, and the eponymous track ‘Anathema’ delivers powerful guitar solos and solid drumming.
Banter between tracks is kept to a minimum, but when they do, Vincent and Danny Cavanagh address the audience in a humble and grateful manner; their undeniable Liverpudlian accents divulging their roots.
The setlist is taken almost entirely from their last four (out of ten) studio albums, save for the finale of ‘Fragile Dreams’ from their 1998 release Alternative 4, and heavily promote their latest offering, by performing almost every track from Distant Satellites, emphasising their continued desire to play fresh and personally relevant material for their fans. The definition of the word Anathema is “something that one vehemently dislikes”; nothing could be further from the truth, as far as this band is concerned, apparently.
Review by Alan Daly
Photos by Olga Kuzmenko