by Donte Kirby
The Underground Arts show floor was a sea of black shirts. The tides
of this sea swayed and thrashed on the whims of Mamiffer, Alcest, and Anathema.
Mamiffer, a two-piece made up of Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner, was the opening act. The duo played dark atmospheric melodies that put the crowd under a spell, yet no one knew their name. Mamiffer loosened necks with a gentle sway for the head banging to come.
Alcest, a French shoegazing band, took to the stage next. The whole band save the drummer sported long flowing hair and lead the crowd into head bangers bliss. The heavy fog, compounded with the moody lights and vocals that could be heard just beneath the instruments gave the performance an ethereal feel. The only time the lead singer’s voice was clear and distinct through the instruments was when it dropped a few octaves and his words came from the bottom of his throat. The contrast sending the crowd into a greater frenzy.
When Anathema hit the stage the first thing they said was “We’ve waited very long for this moment.” By the reaction of the sold out crowd they had been waiting for the first night of Anathema’s US tour for a very long time, too. Every song was accompanied with singing from the audience. The sea of black constantly moved, some eyes were closed soaking it all in, others barely blinked so they would miss a thing. Every bit of energy Anathema gave the crowd, it gave back two fold.
When Daniel Cavanagh asked for the lights to be dimmed and the crowd to raise their phones and lighters, every hand was raised and the sea of black was illuminated. “Just feels like the beginning of something. This is our first tour but we’ll definitely be back. Soon as we’re done, we’re going right to writing and recording,” was the message Anathema left Philadelphia fans.
After Anathema’s performance, for those who cared to stay, The Late Nite Cabaret was being held in a theater of sorts right in the room adjacent to the concert space, where it will be until Sept. 22 to celebrate the 2013 Fringe Festival. This night The Late Nite Cabaret was a mix of performance art, open mic, music, poetry and theater. I learned of the romance of a dancer and composer, the musings of Stephan and Shawn, witnessed S&M courtesy of the safe word “Begonia”, heard the dirtiest story ever told from Greg Giovanni and the musical styling’s of a band whose name may or may not be The Fault is Ours.
Underground Arts delivered on the arts in every sense of the word. When the sea of black shirts receded into low tide for the night I’m sure they were satisfied.