Review: Embrace, The Engine Rooms, Southampton, November 3

Review: Embrace, The Engine Rooms, Southampton, November 3

By Sian Bryant. Photos: Sarah Groszewski.

I reconnected with my 20 year old self this weekend, with a can of lager in my hand jumping up and down to an album I hadn’t listened to from start to finish in many a year.

Embrace kicked off their The Good Will Out 25th Anniversary Tour with a quickly sold out gig at the Engine Rooms in Southampton, and oh my days it was good.

Support came from Tom Speight and The Slates.

The crowd were all there for the same thing; to soak up the iconic debut album that propelled the band into the public eye when they, and we, were all finding our feet.

Now older, hairier, but no less grateful for the adulation of the crowd who roared them on as they did 25 years ago soaking up the tracks from the album that made their name. 

All You Good Good People kicked off the set list that remained largely true to the album listing. It was always going to make for a strong start with both My Weakness Is None Of Your Business and Come Back to What You Know following in quick succession, reminding everyone why it was heralded as one of the greatest debut albums of its time.

The McNamara brothers look as tight as ever, not only with their vocals  but also in between the tracks with Danny turning to his brother Richard for the banter including some exchanges that revealed Richard’s preferences for playing some songs over others.

As per the album, the set list went on to deliver the lyrical masterpiece that is Fireworks. For me, one of their best: ‘You fell in love, I fell in line’. Perfection.

Playing a whole album meant the crowd was very much in on the act, knowing what was coming next, and baying for their favourites that they knew were on their way.

Tracks including Higher Sights and Last Gas, kept up the tempo before hurtling towards the magnificent The Good Will Out, Danny once again had the crowd in the palm of his hand, la-laaing for what seemed like an eternity.

And when we were all done reliving our youth, the band brought us back up to date with an encore that featured their more recent chart successes. An Embrace gig that doesn’t feature Ashes is just not a situation I can contemplate. Listening to that track live will never disappoint, it is without doubt my happy place. Ashes was a fabulous ending to a wonderful nostalgic trip back to a time when all you needed was a cracking band, a lager and someone prepared to jump around with you.

Post gig as we spilled out into the chilly night, Danny also demonstrated his marketing skills by pointing out from the upstairs window what a fantastic Christmas present the tour t-shirts would make. I duly obliged. 

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Tom Speight

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