Review: Embrace, Engine Rooms, Southampton

YORKSHIRE stars Embrace returned to Southampton in triumph with a new album and plenty of hits.

It is 20 years since front man Danny McNamara, his brother and lead guitarist Richard, bassist Steve Firth, drummer Mike Heaton and keys player Mickey Dale sold out Southampton University before releasing their first album.

Then they were hailed as the first big post-Britpop group and headlined The Guildhall more than once.

Now seven top 10 albums later, including three number ones, they’re one of the most enduring bands in Britain. They’ve played the biggest stages and know how to put on a show.

National anthems All You Good People, Save Me and their biggest hit Nature’s Law thrilled the 800 capacity crowd. Not many acts can deliver banger after banger for more than 90 minutes.

Tonight was like the joy of meeting up with old mates again after some time apart. A little apprehension at first, but very soon things return to how they were, back to the good times.

But it would be wrong to say nothing has changed. Songs like Rabbit Hole and the title track from latest top 5 album Love Is a Basic Need show Embrace are still pioneers of new sounds.

Ashes, still the best accompanying tune for football television highlights, wrapped up the regular set before Nicole from support act EEVAH joined Danny for the band’s new duet Never.

The front man then revealed that his favourite new number All That Remains will be their next single. “It’s written by my brother, but it sounds like one of mine” he joked.

Gravity, penned for the band by Chris Martin and Coldplay, and the epic, almost spiritual The Good Will Out had everyone singing. These are songs to last a lifetime.

Danny jumped off the stage to greet everyone at the front as he’s done so many times before at Glastonbury, V Festival and at the country’s biggest arenas.

With their number one debut album celebrating 20 years in 2018, Embrace say they’ll tour again soon. For these Southampton fans those dates can’t come soon enough.

Love Is a Basic Need, the new album by Embrace, and Can’t Breathe, the new single by Eevah, are out now. More at