Ever since hearing their 1999 album Judgement, I have been a devoted evangelist of English metal/rock/whateverthehellyouwannacallit band Anathema. At Milwaukee Metalfest 2001, I was lucky enough to see them play what was only their second show in the U.S., where they graced us with most of Judgement, Alternative 4, "A Dying Wish" from The Silent Enigma (*drool*), a cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb," and the title track from the then-upcoming album A Fine Day to Exit. This one concert experience with them would eventually become permanently idealized in my memory, as it would be Anathema's last U.S. show for the following TWELVE YEARS (albeit due to constant travel-related issues). Then on September 21, 2013, Anathema comes to Reggie's Rock Club in Chicago as part of a U.S. tour with Alcest and Mamiffer, and gives me one of the most surreal concert experiences of my entire show-going life, right up there with Devin Townsend, The Flaming Lips, and Prince (you heard me).
Regardless of where I looked, it was impossible to not witness the magnitude of the Anathema fan's devotion. There were fans from Chicago as well as from various neighboring states, some of whom drove hundreds of miles to a chance to see Anathema play. There were those like me who have waited years to see Anathema again, and those who've not yet had the tremendous pleasure. At least five different foreign languages were being spoken, and this was just amongst the people waiting in line for admission. Even fans wearing Pentecost III and other "more metal" shirts were ignoring the fact that Anathema's new material can delve into "adult contemporary" territory, raving about the genius of their favorite band's latest album Weather Systems (rel. April 2012 via Kscope). But as interesting as all this was, the bulk of the surreality I was feeling was because, for my first video interview ever, I was sitting down with Anathema vocalist/guitarist (and occassional keyboardist) Vinny Cavanaugh. Watch me make a jackass of myself as a friendly and VERY patient Vinny lets his dinner get cold just to offer my cameraperson and I a shot of nerve-calming whiskey and graciously answer my demanding list of questions.
And here's some footage of Anathema performing "Fragile Dreams"!
*Special thanks to my camera operator, Amber Roberts.
-Death Metal Joe