Review: Embrace, O2 Academy, Sheffield

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After years away from the limelight, West Yorkshire rockers Embrace are back with a new album and tour – including their first gig in Sheffield since a September 2006 date at The Leadmill.

But, by the large crowd in attendance at the 02 Academy, it is clear they still have a strong fanbase.

Frontman Danny McNamara seemed overwhelmed by the support, calling the Sheffield crowd his favourite audience of the tour so far.

The gig started well, with songs from their comeback album – the self-titled Embrace – mixed in with some of the band’s back catalogue anthems, including Come Back to What You Know and All You Good Good People, which Danny dedicated to the ‘good good people’ in the audience.

However, from the strong start the show tailed off, with the band steering away from their more well-known tracks, before a rousing finish with the stunning Gravity and Ashes, which had the whole venue singing along.

The encore almost seemed an after-thought with the love the crowd had shown for the band seeming to go to Danny’s head.

While he struggled with his voice when talking, he wouldn’t rest it, going on long rambles between songs which broke up the flow of the music, before indulging in bizarre hip-thrusts to the crowd’s chant of ‘Yorkshire, Yorkshire’.

The band have some great songs in their reportoire – and Danny should really let the music do the talking.