Embrace - Manchester Apollo - 13.10.06

When Embrace returned with "Gravity", penned by Coldplay's Chris Martin nothing could stand in their way as their comeback was as spectacular and unexpected as that of El Mozfather. Their rise continued and continued until their fall from grace at the MEN Arena, which will possibly go down in history as second to the Stone Roses playing Reading Festival as the most misjudged manoeuvre in musical history.

Back on form in these more intimate settings the anthems empower the whole venue rather than getting lost in them. "No More Crying" and "All You Good Good People" bookmark the opening before leading into "Nature's Law", proof if anything that amongst the bluster Embrace have a soulful element embodied in every tune. Leading up to this gig there had been talk of this being Embrace's last ever tour, a rumour they dispelled fairly early on as a misquote, but touching on all bases of their career it certainly seemed like the end of an era as if the band had pushed their current sound as far as they could.

Looking around at tonight's audience it's hard to gauge just how many old fans there are and how many new ones, but there's no partisan split in the crowd as everyone comes together. As the aforementioned single "All You Good Good People" signalled Embrace are a band of the people who came together for the people and each twist and turn in the life's of the McNamara's is something we've all lived through but never been able to express. Even the fact that Danny McNamara has calmed down the mouthy proclamations that dwarfed that of Johnny Borrell's is sign of the bands growing maturity and letting the music speak for itself.

You get the feeling that after tonight Embrace will be out of action for a while possibly moving in a more experimental direction as seen on their 2nd album, but this band have it all in their hands right now with a devoted fanbase eagerly awaiting their next move and prepared for a magnificent career defining record

Alex McCann
Photos: Rebecca Lee www.rleephoto.co.uk


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