Anathema @ Islington Academy, London 2010

For many, a Friday night is spent getting so intoxicated you lose your inhibitions and wallet while you’re at it. But not here, as Anathema are able to hypnotise the full Islington Academy from the moment they walk onto the stage. Despite working on new album ‘We’re here because we’re here’ for such a long time, the hardcore fanatics have not lost faith and Anathema prove exactly why. Their stage presence and atmospheric melodies are enough to keep you on your toes as despite their slightly more post rock recent tendencies, there is still plenty of punch in these scousers’ blood.

A lot of the new album is scattered through the set list with stand out songs like ‘A Simple Mistake’ and ‘Angels Walk Among Us’ proving that the album sounds a lot stronger live. Classic ‘A Natural Disaster’ is as beautiful as ever with female vocalist Lee Douglas getting every single note pitch perfect while favourites off of both the ‘Judgement’ and ‘Alternative 4’ albums keep everyone engrossed.

More often than not, technical difficulties are a band’s worst nightmare, however tonight proves the professionalism of the Cavanagh brothers and co as instead of going off in a huff, they treat London to a very rare moment. As tonight a very chatty and admired Danny Cavanagh steps up to do an acoustic version of ‘Are You There’, which literally leaves a lot of jaws resting on the floor, as his vocals soar through the venue beautifully, a true treat for any fan.

With such a plethora of styles from their ever growing discography, Anathema touch on their heavier early stuff with “Sleepless”, showing that although the band took a more atmospheric route later on their death and doom influences still linger in the fans’ and their own heads. An encore of “Fragile Dreams” closes the show and if this was a theatre, Anathema would leave the stage with a standing ovation.

Review by Lily Randall

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