Anneke van Giersbergen & Danny Cavanagh/ 29.01.2013, Tavastia Club, Helsinki

Danny Cavanagh and Anneke Van Giersbergen are two very popular musicians: Danny is the founder of the British band ANATHEMA and Anneke is known for her outstanding voice and time as the lead singer of THE GATHERING.

The two artists offered an exceptional performance on January the 28th at Club Semifinal, in Helsinki, but the venue proved to be too small. Many fans were deprived of the opportunity to buy a ticket at the show which quickly sold-out, so in order to appease the large number of music lovers, the organizers decided to set up another gig, which took place on January the 29th, at Tavastia.

The second night had a very cozy and homey feeling, and gathered over 300 people at the venue. The whole atmosphere was very relaxed and gave the impression that the artists were performing in one’s living room.

The friendliness of the evening had its roots in the warm and down to earth behavior of our performers, who did not exhibit star-like attitudes. For instance, we caught glimpse of Danny who was unpretentiously playing an electronic game in front of the bar, minutes before going on stage.

Danny2webHe was the first to play and entered the stage in a humble, comfortable manner. Danny managed to catch the audience’s attention just by his sense of humor and his clumsiness in using his brand new guitar looping pedal.

At first, he didn’t know how it worked as it was the first time when he was playing with it. Later on, he managed to make very good use of the tool, layering guitar chords and lines, and creating bass and drums loops by tapping different parts of his guitar.

If in Anathema, Danny is the creative power behind most of the albums, this time he wanted to remind the public that he feels very lucky for having his brother Vincent doing all the vocals. Danny himself did a very good job at singing as well.

Danny3webHe started the evening with “Untouchables” and continued with the most known and loved songs from Anathema, making dedications to dear friends and nonetheless communicating and joking around with the public. Danny also played “High Hopes” from Pink Floyd. 

As the whole gig was recorded for the DVD of the two singers, the artist tried hard to overcome his new looper and make the songs sound just right by having more tries until he was satisfied with the result.

This only gave way to laughter and jokes produced by both the performer and the audience. His charisma made Danny an interesting stage presence that made the concert goers realize that even artists are human beings, subjected to mistakes. Luckily, however: practice makes perfect!

Danny4web copyDanny brought big smiles on the lips of the multicultural fans. We heard many languages spoken in the audience, besides the expected Finnish – there were hints of Russian, Spanish and even Iranian floating around the stage. Much to her delight, Anneke soon found out for herself, after she appeared on stage, hidden behind the big guitar that she was carrying. 

If, at first, the audience found her entrance a bit peculiar, in just a few moments they were taken by the beautiful Anneke, who held her instrument in one hand, and a colorful thermo tea mug in the other.

She created a wave of smiles. The singer tried to hide her clumsiness when it came to handling her big guitar by joking around about her herbal tea which was sitting quietly in the colorful mug. She challenged the fans to a multinational language debate that had a surprising outcome.

Anneke3webAnneke was amazed when she heard exactly how many cultures had worthy representatives in the audience! 

From the first notes, all worries went away. What an astonishing singer! Her vocals were in perfect tune and it was obvious that this was an artist who had mastered her vocal abilities. Anneke’s vibrato was perfectly controlled and she played with the tone of her voice effortlessly. The verdict? Impressive.

Anneke definitely surpassed Danny when it came to singing. The mastermind behind Anathema, however, was a masterful guitarist and after hearing his great instrumentals, Anneke’s guitar playing sparked the following phrase in one’s mind: “Dude, women and technology!”.


She isn’t a guitar “virtuoso”, but she performed well enough to be able to do justice to her amazing voice. Anneke was also very good at using the guitar looper, although she cracked jokes about her shortcomings when she messed things up.

She sang many songs from The Gathering, and also from her solo albums, like “Sunny Side Up” and “Circles”. She was very entertaining to watch on stage. 

Anneke’s performance was transparent, from the point of view of emotions, conveying every single feeling by means of facial expressions and bodily gestures. It has been a long time since the author of this review has seen so much being given to the audience by the artist. 

As Danny said during his set – ‘you’re in for a long night!’. The show had gone on for about two hours when the two artists climbed on stage together and did another long set together. However, this was anything but boring.

Anneke4webThe two played a lot of covers, started with Massive Attack’s “Teardrop”. “Can’t take my eyes off you” by Damien Rice, “Running up that hill” by Kate Bush, “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper and Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” were also heard.

Danny and Anneke also performed songs Anathema and Anneke’s solo projects. As an encore, they did “Hey Okay” again, because apparently something went wrong on the first take and they wanted to have a perfect version for the DVD.

All in all, it was a very entertaining gig that surpassed all expectations. I would say this was one of the best concerts seen in Helsinki in a while.

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