Anathema @ Mackintosh Church, Glasgow
When Anathema come to town they know how to make it very special. You know the music is going to be beautiful but when they chose one of the most stunning buildings in Glasgow and fill it with their visually incredible screens and projected movies you will be in Awe.
Tonight was my first time in this church, come venue. It is the last of the set for me as I have done every other church the city has to offer and I love each and every one for many different reasons. This venue did not disappoint either. For Glasgow it now holds a dual meaning as many will not know that Glasgow had a huge loss when one of its favourite music venues was burned to the ground. The 02, ABC had many personal memories for me and I will always remember it fondly but that was just a small part of the pain that the city felt as the same fire that ravaged the venue also completely destroyed the cities school of art, a fantastic building that was until that point a lasting memory to the architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
The School of art was nearly finished after being renovated from a previous fire which had already raised whispers to shouts of foul play. Either way in one night we lost two amazing buildings so I am delighted to be here and witness an incredible band in simply stunning surroundings that can now meld the memories of the two buildings lost.
The church is in almost darkness(which did not make for good photographs) as the beautiful guitar tones of “Springfield” reverberated through the rafters to your ears. This is built on with the keyboards and drums and that gorgeous voice.
“The Lost Song Part 2” floats on the air next and takes me back, back to a time when Anathema were my go to band for a Sunday dealing with a hangover. They were my chill out band, when my head was too full of everyday life, when I needed to let go. Funny to think on all those Sundays I would one day be sitting in a church listening to this.
The pace is about to pick up and we are asked to rise( as a congregation) and everyone duly agrees(those old pews are not that comfortable anyway). This song is excellent amongst the calm. It proves the acoustics of the hall are perfect and you can hear the aaaaah on everyone’s lips. It truly is an auditory banquet.
As the keys start there is a hushed applause from the crowd( it is a bit strange being so vocal in a chuuch) as the song “Anathema” comes forth. The deeper voice, the emotional extension of love you floats in the air. A magical moment.
I have never witnessed an audience so happy, yet so quiet. A suppressed joy that only Anathema can conjure. This is felt throughout the finale in “Untouchable 1 and 2”. As I was doing photos tonight(a bit unsuccessfully due to the darkness) I managed to move around the venue and one of the biggest memories I will take away is standing upstairs in the rafters looking back at the faces in the crowd, everyone sitting down, in their own space…those faces told a story of a pure connection with the band on the stage. I have never seen anything like that before. My usual gig going is made up of Rock, metal and blues and it is all but unheard of to be sitting down never mind not moving.
It was like some huge mind control experiment, with the projector going direct to the brains of each individual, the music forced straight into the ears and every thought, emotion and worry was forced out of your head. Something only music can do but Anathema know how to do this on a completely different level.
This was an awe inspiring experience for me, it was the venue, it was the lights and screens, it was my memories and it was the beautiful music. Anathema are a thing of beauty to behold live.
Images and words Ritchie Birnie
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