Embrace @ Carling Academy, Newcastle

Thursday 19 October 2006

This gig was apparently one of the fastest selling on their current tour, so it came as no surprise that as Danny, Richard, Mike, Steve and Mickey stepped out on stage, they were greeted by a massive, enthusiastic Geordie roar. This crowd was up for a good time. And so it seems, were Embrace.

Frontman Danny McNamara immediately took charge of the crowd, loping onto the stage, high on energy, reaching out to the gallery and shaking his head to the guitar solos provided by brother Richard.

Their blend of euphoric indie anthems seem to have been around for ever and just when you thought they’d run through the complete set of rousing crowd pleasers, they pulled another one out of the bag.

Highlights for me were All You Good Good People and their recent single Target together with the audience singalong of Back to What You Know and a glitterball accompaniment to Chris Martin penned Gravity. Instructions for safe pogoing may also have ensured there weren’t any broken toes among the enthusiastic mosh pit.

This current, extensive UK tour is coming to an end, but this is a great time to catch Embrace. They were ably supported by Delays, another great band of talented musicians who all bring something to the mix. Their single Valentine is one of my favourite songs from early on this year. It was great to experience their live sound which has a rockier edge than you might expect from listening to their releases. And yes, singer Greg Gilbert does reach those high notes without visible means of support!

Embrace are a band who stick together (rumours of a breakup were emphatically rejected on stage). A real band who play well, write their own songs and have albums worth of back catalogue and years of live touring experience to draw on. But above all, they looked like they were having fun. And isn’t that the point of being in a band?

To echo Danny McNamara’s closing words as they left the stage after an almost two hour set, “Thank you very much. I really enjoyed that.”