Review by Tosh Davies and photos by Sean Larkin
This pairing of the two most respected artists in their chosen genres has been a long time coming, so it comes as no surprise the queue snakes around the venue well before the allocated door time.
Anathema has released their almighty, astounding Weather Systems album this year much to the delight of their hardnosed fans. Tonight their mesmerizing sound washes over you like a rippling sea, spontaneously crashing into life on the rocks, and its sublime. The PA system truly does the band justice tonight; it’s crisp, clear and precise capturing the sound of the band perfectly. Danny and Vincent Cavanagh, the nucleus of the band, have been at this for many years, slowly honing their sound to resemble a Pink Floyd for the new generation. ‘Untouchable Pt’s 1 & 2’ flow through the venue gracefully while ‘Closer’ picks up the tempo ever so slightly, the set coming to its climax far too soon with ‘Fragile Dreams’. All present in the venue could have endured a whole lot more of this powerful, emotive set, awesome stuff.
It’s no secret that whilst Opeth are certainly accomplished musicians on album. Live, they simply bore the tits off me. Tonight however, I’m left to eat my words. After being woken up at Bloodstock some years back by security from my Opeth-induced slumber in the middle of the field, tonight Opeth get the balance spot on. Mikael Åkerfeldt’s on stage banter is simply legendary, his dry witty humor transcends well through the venue, gaining respectable stand-up laughter around Rock City. Even playing a cover of Napalm Death’s ‘You Suffer’ – all two seconds of it – twice still gets the crowd rearing with appreciation who seem to cover every generation, young and old. ‘Ghost Of Perdition’, ‘Deliverance’ and the encore of ‘Blackwater Park’ are performed impeccably. With enough death growls to complement the slower meandering moments, it manages to keep the attention span of all in attendance perfectly balanced. Tonight was about majestic metal with a progressive edge performed by passionate professionals at the top of their game. While opinion will be divided on these two bands, there is no doubt in my mind that tonight, quality shone through to eclipse any pretenders congregating in the wings.
And you can see more of Sean’s shots here: