Embrace at Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Just as Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World was ending in the background and the audience were getting expectant, Embrace entered the Shepherd’s Bush Empire’s stage with a rendition of Wake Up Call, one of the best songs from their newest album Love Is a Basic Need – currently number five in the charts. A fantastic way to end a sunny day in London and to kick off the weekend, some might say, as listening to this band is all about embracing life, and more centrally, love.
The alternative rockers from West Yorkshire – led by brothers Danny and Richard McNamara – are well-known among the British music scene. Playing since 1998, they have produced seven albums, but this last one has definitely hit a home run, hurtling over the fence and beyond. This is proven by a full house at the Empire and the usual groupies in the corners singing every lyric by heart – that is some admiration.
Love Is a Basic Need differs a bit from the group’s origins with more mellow tunes and lyrics that are dominated by love – numbers that make one feel good – but classics like One Big Family and Someday didn’t go amiss. The crowd enthusiastically consented to Danny’s commands to tag along with the band in the choruses, to jump and stand up (if their knees allowed). It was impossible not to scream your lungs out and dance. “This has been our favourite audience so far,” said the lead singer happily.
Some of the highlights were Gravity from their 2004 album Out of Nothing – a deep track, donated by Coldplay’s Chris Martin to thank Embrace for helping them out in the early stages of their career, that Danny dedicated to his wife – as well as Richard’s solos Where You Sleeping and Horseshoe in My Glove, which was an emotional moment thanks to his outstanding keyboard skills. The duet Never with Danny and Nikki was an absolute favourite.
Yesterday’s concert was one of those where you lose your voice. Life-affirming, as someone said in the audience, because Embrace completely smashed it.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information and future events visit Embrace’s website here.
Watch the video for Never here: