Anathema / Alcest – Limelight 2, Belfast (23rd September 2017)

Kerri took a trip into the dark side to catch doom maestros Anathema ably supported by black/alternative act Alcest. She got some pretty pictures, too.


Alcest (c) Exposing Shadows Photography

The French band Alcest have joined Anathema on the European leg of this tour. With most of their songs coming in at around eight minutes it was great to see that they had an appropriate length of support slot. They’re led by Neige (Stéphane Paut), who alternated his soft, almost ethereal, clean vocal with harsh screams to create something that is more than ‘shoegazing’.

“Kodama” and “Oiseaux de proie” demonstrated their skilfully crafted song writing, and was perfectly executed live. Alcest ended with the contrasting “Percées de lumière” and the dream-like “Délivrance”. A unique band and one that should not be pigeon holed into a specific genre.


Speaking of genres, few bands have changed their style over the years as much as Anathema. Since their early days as a doom metal band they have seen various line-up and style changes. They have gained new fans but largely managed to hold on to their original fanbase. When you see Anathema live the reason for this is clear; the energy, passion and atmosphere remains the same now as it did twenty years ago.

Anathema (c) Exposing Shadows Photography

The band came onto the stage one by one for instrumental track “San Fransisco” from their latest album The Optimist. Vincent Cavanagh and Lee Douglas then broke into a superb and moving version of “Untouchable Pt1” and “Untouchable Pt2”. The next few songs showcased The Optimist, with the crowd not only showing that they were familiar with the new material but also loving it.

Some momentum was briefly lost at the start of “Lightning Song” due to a tuning issue but was regained as Lee Douglas broke into a soulful version of another beautiful song.

With the set having been focused on everything from 2010 at this point my attention was beginning to wane. The newer material from Anathema is great but albums such as Alternative 4 and Judgement contain songs that are absolute classics. It was great to hear “Lost Control” and “Fragile Dreams” at the end of the set. Judging by the crowd’s reaction to “Fragile Dreams” I was not the only one that thought this.

Overall yet another fantastic performance from Anathema, but there is wealth of songs in their back catalogue that I think fans both old and new would like to hear amid the newer numbers.

Photos by Exposing Shadows Photography

Anathema: official | facebook | twitter | myspace

Alcest: official | facebook | twitter |

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