Embrace – Live Review – Leeds O2 Academy
By Victoria Holdsworth, April 2018
I’ve not sensed such an electrical feeling of anticipation like this in the O2 for quite some time. Finally making a welcome return, back to a sold out Leeds crowd, the Brighouse quintet Embrace stroll out to rapturous applause.
Danny McNamara soaks in the atmosphere for a moment, arms aloft and then they’re straight into ‘Wake Up Call’, from the new album, Love Is A Basic Need. The crowd absolutely lap it up and the vibe just lifts even more, and I think Saturday night has just started.
The lead singer seems a little overwhelmed tonight and, never one for much banter, he gets straight into the next song, and pleases the crowd even further with one of the best indie anthems ever written, ‘All You Good Good People’. The song blends nicely into the chorus rousing ‘Nature’s Law’, which sees the crowd explode in fine voice, alongside the driving drum beats from Mike Heaton.
“Crowd are elated”
By the end of the classic ‘Follow You Home’ the admiration for these five guys is evident by just looking at the faces around me, hanging on his every word.
Another older tune to please the die-hard crowd with ‘Come Back to What You Know’, before dipping their toes back into the newer stuff and one of the slower tunes from the new album, ‘Rabbit Hole’. I certainly get the impression that the opinion of the Leeds crowd is especially important to Danny, as he introduces his brother Richard to take charge of the vocals for ‘Where You Sleeping’ and ‘Horseshoe in My Glove’.
These tracks demonstrate just how fierce Richard’s own vocal and musical skills are – and in complete contrast to the smoother, more mellow Danny. Mickey Dale’s keyboard skills on these songs add a beautiful and emotional feel to the raw edge lyrics, and everyone is spellbound.
Other notable songs tonight are ‘Drawn From Memory’ and ‘How Come’, before the big guns come out from Out Of Nothing, with ‘Ashes’ and ‘Gravity’. To say the crowd are elated is an understatement.
“Exceed all expectations”
There’s a really nice, touching moment where Danny asks his parents to stand up on the balcony, as everyone applauds them. Then, just as Danny seems to be more in his comfort zone we start approaching the final run with ‘All That Remains’, which Danny explains was written by his brother, and a duet with Nicole from support act EEVAH, on the critically acclaimed ‘Never’.
Ending on ‘The Good Will Out’ and the ever-emotional ‘Someday’, Embrace briefly leave the stage to return with an encore of ‘If I Never Thought About It’ and ‘Save Me’, which is out of this world.
There are very few bands that can deliver a set like that, with no messing around, just solid wall-to-wall anthem after anthem – and for over an hour and a half. Embrace tonight exceed all expectations. The new sounds are much better live than on the album, and that is testament to the band as a collective talent.
Without any egos or power struggles getting in the way, Embrace are still that gem on a coal face.
Images: Anthony Longstaff