Embrace – Live Review – The Piece Hall, Halifax
By Steve Crabtree, July 2023
Halifax, Brighouse, Bradford, and Huddersfield, they all lay claim to them. But Embrace, without a doubt, are true Halifax lads. So, when they took the stage in front of a packed house of Halifax fans at the iconic Piece Hall, it was undeniably a homecoming gig for these local indie-rockers.
With some brilliant performances over the last few weeks, Embrace had a high bar to achieve tonight. And their purpose was to commemorate the 25th anniversary of The Good Will Out album. But they absolutely delivered a stellar show that did themselves and the town proud.
It was a breezy Saturday night, but once again we had a full house here in The Piece Hall. My friend and I got in just in time for the magnificent warm-up set from Starsailor who could easily headline a show of their own here. Lead singer James Walsh is quite possibly the nicest guy in live music, beaming with smiles and radiating positive energy. From the opening chords of ‘Poor Misguided Fool’ to the brilliance of “Good Souls,” it was really good set. Many people who were here knew Starsailor’s hits word for word, and the singalong grew louder with each passing line.
As the sun began to set at 9 pm, it was Embrace’s turn to jump on stage and in doing so they got a rapturous welcome from us locals. I had the pleasure of witnessing Embrace perform a similar gig here in 2019, but this time round, they took the show up several notches. And, for me, they solidified it as one of the Piece Hall’s most exceptional shows yet.
“From fantastic to euphoric”
So, we got The Good Will Out in order, and in its entirety. So when they kicked off with ‘All You Good Good People’, an overdose of streamers and ticker tape flew form the stage, and the atmosphere went from fantastic to euphoric.
This was s special show, and as the next 90+ minutes panned out, musical pleasure was finding its way around the entire place.
We all sang along to ‘Come Back To What You Know’. And ‘One Big Family’ seemed pretty poignant on this Halifax show. ‘Higher Sights’ and ‘Retread’ toned some of the sound down a little, but there was no change in the thrills this performance was giving off.
Danny was in his element. He was leaping around the stage, whistling and thriving in the evening. He even said he wanted us all here at the 50th anniversary of the record. I don’t think he was joking too much wither. And, in that moment, we’d all have bought a ticket for it.
Packed full, everywhere you looked people were singing every word, had arms around their mates, or swilling their beer from side to side.
‘The Last Gas’ was great, and ‘Now You’re Nobody’ sounded perfect. If you’re familiar with the album, you’ll know that led us in to ‘The Good Will Out’. And Embrace had given us a great record in an even better format on stage.
“The Piece Hall bouncing”
But they weren’t done. Not a chance, the lads came back out for an epic six song encore and by now it was dark. But the show was only going to crank up even more, as they dug a couple of new tunes, and a few classics out of their back catalogue. ‘Death Is Not The End’ and ‘We Are It’ are brilliant tunes live, Then, they unleashed ‘Nature’s Law’, before Richard took over the vocals for a stunning performance rendition of “Refugees.”
After ‘Gravity’, we had the most awesome finale with ‘Ashes’. Fireworks smashed against the Halifax sky, more ticker tape flicked and floated around the Piece Hall, and emotions were up to the maximum. I’ve never witnessed the Piece Hall bouncing as much as it did during the last song. In that moment, the entire place had a huge feeling of exhilaration, where we needed the show to finish to catch our breath.
I mentioned the bar had been set high, but Embrace certainly matched it. I have to say, I didn’t expect it to reach the levels it did and I’m so pleased I was there.
As for The Good Will Out anniversary show… see you in 2048, lads?⁹
Images: Cuffe & Taylor/The Piece Hall