Anathema returned to North America last week in support of their eleventh studio album, The Optimist, which was released this past June via Kscope. These British progressive rockers booked a nine-date trek which started in Baltimore this past Wednesday (16) and concludes on Friday (25th). We were there for their second show on August 17th at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre.
The Los Angeles rock outfit Silver Snakes opened up the night and continued to support their album Saboteur, which was released early last year. Sound wise, some of their tunes reminded a few veteran Anathema fans of their original doom style.
After a short break, the crowd in the now-packed venue were ready for Anathema to take the stage. It’s no secret the band has changed immensely over the years, which was seen in their latest effort. Their style has evolved to more ambient and artistic approaches and their original goth and doom style has been long gone. With that said, their setlist was a big mystery since they could go in multiple directions.
Fans enjoyed a mix of their material, as they opened the night with part 1&2 of “Untouchable” from 2012’s Weather Systems. A handful of tracks from their new album were performed, including “Leaving it Behind,” “Endless Ways,” “The Optimist,” “Can’t Let Go,” and “Springfield.” The highlight of the evening was when the house lights went on as the audience gave the group a standing ovation.
The energy in the room continued to flow as fans raised their lighters and phones to move along with the emotion. Throughout the night, tracks continued to vary with tracks such as “Universal” from 2010’s We’re Here Because We’re Here, to the title track from 2003’s A Natural Disaster.
For the veteran fans, the band saved the best for last when they went into a few tracks from 1998’s Alternative 4 with songs “Lost Control,” Destiny,” and “Fragile Dreams.” There wasn’t anything from 1995’s masterpiece The Silent Enigma but, the crowd was left satisfied.