Live Report: OPETH / ALCEST – Manchester Academy 2, 15/10/14

Live Report: OPETH / ALCEST – Manchester Academy 2, 15/10/14

Guess who got soaked walking to the venue to see Opeth, yeah. Me. Not just a light shower but a full on deluge came crashing out of the sky tonight, bad news for me. Great news for the merch sales of people wanting dry shirts which their was an ever growing queue.

And in true Academy style, when the rain is coming down. They open the doors late, such a win. Said nobody, ever.

Opeth

But past that I got in, spent a stupid amount of money on merch I didn’t really need and wandered  upstairs. It seemed odd to me seeing bands of this calibre in a venue so small, it appeared the venue had been downsized for the night. Which was great news for me stood right at the front. When Alcest walked onto the stage, my perfect location sent me into full on fanboy mode. The opening intro track in Wings from their latest album Shelter was met with a warm response from the ever amassing crowd. Flowing into Opale the band play their souls out. Neige’s vocal is on point and full of emotion, the shoegaze sound emanates outwards and blooms. Classic tracks Les Iris and Autres Temps are met with applause from the now capacity crowd, whilst everyone here tonight is here for the headliners it seems Alcest are winning themselves new fans with every note.

Neige’s screams are powerful and crushing when paired with Winterhalter’s powerful drumming, even though there are other musicians on stage, the core of Alcest is hypnotising, their kaleidoscope of sounds and emotions are brought to a fever pitch in Déliverance, the ten minute final track of both their set and their latest album Shelter. Throughout their 45 minute set the band played through 6 tracks and each one feeds your heart something new and mesmerizing. As the band depart the stage, leaving their instruments ringing out, the applause is magnificent. The crowd are well aware they’ve just witnessed something special.

A long intermission happened then it was time for the masters of modern prog, Opeth! New tracks Eternal Rains Will Come and Cusp of Eternity opening the set go over well with the crowd as expected, but as the band launch into The Moor the crowd comes alive, the reception to classic Opeth is huge and when The Moor flows into Bleak the electricity in the room becomes staggeringly powerful. Some banter from Mikael springs back and forth about fruit, according to him the most un-metal fruit is the coconut, I’m not so sure. I don’t feel that Avocado are very metal either.

Back into the set and we’re given Elysian Woes and Windowpane as Mikael crouches ever lower to follow his ever collapsing mic stand, the bane of his evening. It’s worth mentioning that tonight his vocal is top-notch and at the beginning of the tour there are surprisingly very few issues minus the failing mic stand. The Lotus Eater and The Grand Conjuration make up the last part of tonight’s set, well, until the encore, but the band leave the stage after blowing us all away to return once more and finish the job twofold.

Much like Alcest, Opeth finish with Deliverance, the rampaging leviathan bares its teeth one last time before leaving us for good. I didn’t like that so much, but goodbyes were said, the crowd roared one last time and it was time to head back out into the rain.