Embrace @ Colston Hall 27/09/06

 

Fresh from their summer gigging in forests around the country (as you do), Embrace are back on the tour bus once more. This time it’s business as usual, no more forests for them, no sir.

 

Supporting them is indie/glam/rock outfit The Delays. Their hour and a half set is raucous, thrilling and seriously cool. Lead singer Greg Gilbert’s voice is mesmerizing as he effortlessly reaches notes that no man should be able to reach. The Delays’ high-octane glam indie was the perfect for getting the party started and, when they eventually rocked out at eight forty-five, the undercurrent amongst the revellers was palpable.

 

Time for the main event. Embrace’s entrance was heralded by an aural cacophony. It’s no secret that Embrace fans are a fiercely loyal bunch, and the reception the boys received as they strode across the stage spoke volumes. Literally-loud doesn’t cover it. The fans love Embrace and Embrace love their fans: it’s that simple.

 

From the second Danny McNamara picks up the mic, he owns the stage. And he knows it. Opening with the absolutely belting ‘No Use Crying’ (from their current album ‘This New Day’) he grips the crowd and has them eating out of the palm of his hand.

 

The set is a clever melee of old favourites and spangly new hits. The old school exhilaration of ‘Save Me’, ‘All You Good Good People’ and ‘Come Back to What you Know’ churned up with the shiny newness of ‘The End is Near’, ‘Celebrate’, and ‘Sainted’-which was quite possibly worth the ticket price alone: under Danny’s direction the crowd’s instructed to stand up, hold hands and basically mosh for all their worth. Ever seen a balcony filled to capacity with people leaping up and down like acid fuelled Duracell bunnies? It’s a wondrous sight to be sure.

Gravity-the song that literally saved them from the dole queues-takes it down a notch with its ethereal vocals and dreamy melody.  In between giving the crowd their money’s worth Danny reassures those gathered that Embrace are not (read his lips) planning on splitting anytime soon, contrary to the rumours that have been flying round. Collective sigh of relief and a couple of ‘hell yeahs’ thrown in for good measure, and it’s on with the show.

 

And what a show it is. Textbook Embrace: rousing, sweaty, raw, passionate and honest. Closing with barn-storming ‘Ashes’, the boys ensure they go out with a bang, bringing to a close a gig that has quite literally: rocked. And then some.

Written for Gig Wise

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