Embrace – Glasgow O2 Academy 28/3/18

All you good, good people ready?


All that remains is to report on the events that have unfolded in Glasgow tonight.

Here is the short version…

It was great…better than great…wonderful? Yeah, let’s go with wonderful. A night of anthems, melodies, tunes, thrills, spills, soaring choruses and moments that lifted your heart to celestial plains.

“Wake Up Call” is exactly that. A statement of intent from a band who want and deserve your full attention. Hands reach for the sky…voices reach higher than that.

“All You Good Good People” is like being hit in the soul by a hammer made of pure tune. It sounds bigger, bolder, brasher and better than ever. By it’s climax, and that’s how it feels, Parkhead and Ibrox combined couldn’t match the din this crowd are making.

The gentle piano coda that introduces “Natures Law” is the calm before the storm of melody that this song is. ¬†Embrace seem absolute in their faith in the power of song.

“Are you up for having a really good night?” asks Danny…the definition of a rhetorical question. “Follow you Home” follows and it’s clear that the crowd would follow this gang of musical maestros anywhere. Four songs in and the adoration for this merry band is a near physical presence in the room.

“Come Back to What you Know” takes on the power of a hymn. Danny is the choirmaster leading the congregation in this song of praise. The roar of the crowd brings the band to a halt…they seem genuinely moved, maybe even surprised, by the response. They shouldn’t be…it’s well deserved.

“Love is a Basic Need” is, another, Embrace album that highlights their unmatched ability to conjure up anthems…like rabbits from a top hat. “Rabbit Hole” has more chorus than any song should be allowed.

Richard takes over lead vocals for “Where You Sleeping?” which is the song that Kings of Leon thought they had written when they came up with “Sex on Fire”…something passionate, driven, full of longing and, well, good. He has a fine voice and boy can he play guitar. He’s in charge for “Refugees” too which is a thumping, bass heavy, stomper of a song which transforms into a club anthem by the time it ends.

We are taken back to “Out of Nothing” next with “Someday” which is a song that on any other album by any other band would be the biggest hit from it…it says something, maybe everything, about Embrace that for them it’s only the third best known song from it!

“One Big Family” is a filthy, guttural, raw roar of pure rock with extra roll. It’s like Oasis at their peak…on steroids. It turns the O2 Academy in Glasgow into a seething pit of primal scream therapy. It’s perfect in every way.

Hold on.

“Love is a Basic Need” takes the mess of our hearts, tidies them up, straightens them out and leaves us feeling soothed, calmed and loved…even if it is by strangers. Who said we shouldn’t put our lives in the hands of a rock and roll band?

A crowd of middle-aged bodies are flung into the air by the opening bars of “Save Me”…they come crashing down pretty quickly, we’re too old for that sort of thing really, but it’s testament to the song that it even made us try.

It’s been a long time coming but when “Gravity” hits it hits hard. Eyes are cast to the heavens, voices are raised in praise and bodies sway…this way and that way. All of us. Alone. With lovers. In gangs. Unified. A communal experience of the sort only music can create.

Drums pound.

Hands clap.

Feet stomp.

Toes tap.

Hearts stop.

“Ashes” achieves something I didn’t think possible tonight…it lifts the crowd higher, whips them into greater frenzy, takes their emotional state to hysteria. It’s awesome to be honest with you.

They could have left the building at this point and not a single person would have complained. Not a one. Nope. Not even me and I love complaining.

“All That Remains” is a gentle, heartfelt little nugget of pop loveliness. It’s delivered with heart and soul. We can ask for nothing more than that.

With a drum beat pinched from “Blue Monday” “Protection” is another example of the fact that Embrace are not a band comfortably nestled in a safe musical space…they reach out, listen out and look to move on.

Kerri Watt joins the band for a fabulous rendition of “Never” which is my favourite track from “Love is a Basic Need”. It’s a love song that understands what love is. Watt sounds like the best singer ever to come out of Glasgow, the divine Monica Queen…and that is the highest compliment I can pay her.

“The Good Will Out” is the only way to end a gig this good. It may be the only way to end any gig. Could we pass a law to force every band to end their shows with this? Forever? We can? Good. Let’s do it.

When we hit the “la la la la la la la la la” I’ve got tears in my eyes and a tingle in my tummy. It’s a gorgeous thing. People are hugging strangers. Faces are scarred by smiles.

God bless Embrace.

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