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Matrix, Bochum, Germany
9th October 2010
Anathema, Anneke Van Giersbergen, Petter Carlsen

An evening involving ANATHEMA couldn’t be a bad evening. That’s what I thought when I started travelling to Bochum (again) to get to the Matrix. Other than the day before there was actually a queue in front of the club, a long one. Different to the last show, ANATHEMA brought some guests with PETTER CARLSEN and ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN and… I think you should read the rest of the article to learn what.

Petter Carlsen

PETTER CARLSEN has worked a while as a sound engineer before feeling the urge it is making and playing music he wanted to do. A first result came up with the EP ‘A Taste Of What’s To Come’. Afterwards, he started the restless life of a musician travelling a lot, playing live with or without a band. The debut album ‘You Go Bird’ followed in 2009 and a new album’s already been announced, named ‘Clocks Don’t Count’, preceded by the single ‘Spirits In Need’ on 18th October. /

Music & Performance
When we saw that a little shy-looking guy coming on stage for the first time, he armed himself with a guitar and went to the microphone. What came upon us when he started performing ‘You Go Bird’ simply got you stunned in an instant and let your hairs stand on end. A clear, angelic yet melancholy voice set the audience in awe just to break into rapturous applause afterwards.

Following a cautious “Thank You” we were told that now a new song would come called ‘One of Those Days’. Actually, I think I won’t find the right words to describe it, but it was like a barely visible shadow spreading over something beautiful. A sense of darkness resonating within the echoes of the guitar! For a couple more songs he’d remain on stage alone, enchanting us. But then we’d get a surprise with him welcoming Danny Cavanagh on stage to do the piano on the next songs, starting with ‘Even Dead Things Feel Your Love’, causing excitement all over the place. But the surprises didn’t end there. For ‘The Sound Of You And Me’ ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN would come on stage perform a heart-rending duet and for the last one ‘Pull The Brakes’ it was Vincent Cavanagh appearing. It was just a wonderful opening ceremony for the evening.

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Total: 8.6 / 10

Anneke Van Giersbergen

ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN is most notable for being the singer of Dutch band THE GATHERING she left in 2007 to work with her own band AGUA DE ANNIQUE with whom she soon released the first album ‘Air’ the same year. 2009 it was mutually decided to put her more into the spotlights of everyone. That’s the reason why the second album ‘Pure Air’ carries her name. The next and third album by the name of ‘In Your Room’ came out the same year. /

Music & Performance
Anneke didn’t even have to leave the stage with the others after PETTER CARLSEN’s show ended, grabbed her guitar and first told us she didn’t know what to do after him, but she’d try. Even when she just “tries” she can blow you away as happened with the opening ‘Beautiful One’. It went on with the a little medieval-tinged ‘Yalin’ and again you could just stare and wonder where that strong, emotional voice was coming from that kept us all under its spell.

It got uplifting on the next one, which was ‘Sunny Side Up’ and it was like a bright ray of sunlight would unnaturally break through the ceiling down to us. The answer to the question how they would like a THE GATHERING song now was answered loudly and enthusiastically! The song coming up now as ‘Locked’ off the ‘How to Measure a Planet’ and was of course celebrated. For the last song ‘My Electricity’ the whole “crew” came back on stage with Danny, Vincent & Petter to as well give us a memorable ending to that little show.

01. Beautiful One
02. Yalin
03. Sunny Side Up
04. Locked
05. All I Want Is You (U2 Cover)
06. My Electricity

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 8.6 / 10


Weaving shadows into music and adding dashes of purest melancholia are things ANATHEMA achieved a grand mastership in over the course of their career with it providing a soundtrack for the lost and those experiencing the darkest days of their lives. But there’s something different about the successor of 2003’s ‘A Natural Disaster’. At various points ‘We’re Here Because We’re Here’ is much brighter, even hopeful. This evening we would get to witness the special atmosphere of the new album live, plus the ones descending from different stations of the band’s timeline. ANATHEMA is Vincent Cavanagh (vocals, guitar, vocoder), Danny Cavanagh (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Lee Douglas (vocals), Les Smith (keyboards), Jamie Cavanagh (bass) and John Douglas (drums). /

Music & Performance
So now it was the time for ANATHEMA after a little changeover and you had to use that to really catch a breath and calm down since, Vincent put it quite rightly, this was going to be a long night. A long night that started with ‘Thin Air’ and the audience tapping and moving right away! ‘Summernight Horizon’ kicked in with its piano as the second one and exciting screams got heard in the venue. Once again I need to say I think this one works even better live than on CD and the vocals were absolutely fantastic. When the song nearly reached its peak, Vincent started rocking heavily. But with the next one ‘Dreaming Light’, the mood became more melancholy-flavoured again. In parts fragile vocals guided us through a brittle song that regardless of the contemplative has something uplifting to it, something to make you smile again. And another song off the recent record came with ‘Everything’, seeing Lee’s first appearance on stage for that evening.

For the next few songs we took a trip backwards to the ‘A Natural Disaster’ album, starting with the driving ‘Balance’, having those robot vocals and shifting structures I like so much, and ending with the jazzy foray of the album’s title track. After that, we travelled straight back to the current one with a favourite ‘Angels Walk Among Us’. If I’m just hearing those melodies I’m drifting off; it’s a magical tune. Also the next two tracks were off that album with ‘Presence’ and ‘Simple Mistake, a lengthier excursion in entwined melody building slowly to its peak, having everyone fully under its control. “Anyone knows that album ‘Alternative 4’?” If you’re giving that question to an ANATHEMA fan, the answer you’ll be getting is excited screaming. So enthusiasm was palpable for the next songs, the first one of which was ‘Shroud Of False,’ staring with Vincent moving gradually closer to the microphone while singing and while we’re at it; the audience was singing loudly with them on the song and were all with the band. “Life has betrayed me once again”

On the following ‘Lost Control’ he really let himself fall; sort of really giving up control to something else on that deeply sad song. It became a roller-coaster ride of dark feelings, but also of excitement for this band’s unrivalled class, performing these tunes. At some point this trip had to come to an end, by that I mean the ‘Alternative 4’ trip, and it did with ‘Empty’, followed by the upbeat ‘Panic’, before waves washing up at an unknown shore announced ‘Temporary Peace’ and a time began to immerse the soul in the placid composition, bringing back half-buried memories and feelings. For the last piece of the set, all band members except Danny left, letting him perform the very personal ‘Are You There’ that gave me one shiver after the other. When they all came back for the encore there was only 10 minutes left; enough for 2 songs, and the people screamed for ‘Our Last Goodbye’ that just happened to be on the list and was played and… wow… such a track close to the end. But the highlight was yet to come with ‘Fragile Dreams’ and a surprise.

PETTER CARLSEN joined the band on stage for this track for a while and you could instantly see the chemistry between him and Vincent matched, performing face to face, screaming at each other and doing poses, Petter with the air guitar and Vincent with an existing one. Also Petter did a few vocals on the track and stirred the audience. Some minutes into the song he left then, playing the air guitar. Holy cow! What a show. Nearly 2.5 hours and leading from one highlight to the next. The head full of memories we, as many others, made our ways back home after we finally got out of the club, which takes a while with so many people as you can imagine.

01. Thin Air
02. Summernight Horizon
03. Dreaming Light
04. Everything
05. Balance
06. Closer
07. A Natural Disaster
08. Angels Walk Among Us
09. Presence
10. A Simple Mistake
11. Deep
12. Pitiless
13. Forgotten Hopes
14. Destiny Is Dead
15. Shroud Of False
16. Lost Control
17. Destiny
18. Empty
19. Panic
20. Temporary Peace
21. Flying
21. Universal
22. Hindsight
23. Are You There?
24. One Last Goodbye
25. Fragile Dreams

Music: 10
Performance: 10
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 9.3 / 10

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / /

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