Gig review: Embrace (O2 Academy)


It’s been eight years, one breakup, one new album and several solo projects since perennial comeback kings Embrace last played Glasgow.

At least that’s what eternally effervescent lead singer Danny McNamara tells the throng at their recent packed 02 Academy show.

In fact, they last played a mere three months ago over the river in King Tut’s. Still, the former is a better story and elicits the prerequisite hollers of approval from the fans.

It’s all part and parcel of McNamara’s highly-effective crowd-pleasing schtick.

There’s constant encouragement to clap, wave and cheer; while those seated in the balcony are repeatedly gesticulated at to STAND UP.

The desperation to provoke the most positive response possible from every ticket-holder extends to the setlist, which includes six songs from best-selling debut ‘The Good Will Out’ (‘Fireworks’ being the only slightly baffling omission).

However the truth is that the crowd are as enthusiastic about the songs as McNamara, who looks genuinely taken aback by the raucous response by the end of the show.

Even the half dozen tracks of varying quality from their new self-titled album - veering confusingly from Klaxons nu-rave-lite to Happy Mondays-style baggy stompers - fail to dent the massive enthusiasm on show.

Sure, the sound mix is a bit muddy and McNamara’s vocals are somewhat temperamental; but when you have songs as mighty as ‘All You Good, Good People’ and ‘Come Back to What You Know’, you deserve a forgiving crowd.