Friends of BDV
We love our vintage…We love our people! Check out the latest and greatest from some of our friends and collaborators.
We talk to Electric Ocean, a premier wedding and party band who are currently taking Essex by storm.
Click here to listen: Electric Ocean : Colchester's premier wedding & party band
Hello Electric Ocean, for those that don’t know can you introduce yourself?
Hello Best Days, we are Electric Ocean, a 4 piece East Anglia wedding and function band. We specialise in providing a professional, diverse and unique musicianship unmatched by competitors.
What can someone expect at one of your gigs?
Many other bands provide a genre specific repertoire whereas we pull a huge array of genres into our set list mixing the old with the new, guaranteed to get you on that dance floor. From Bob Marley to Kings of Leon, The Jam to Van Morrison, Red Hot Chili Peppers to Ed Sheeran, Oasis to Dizzee Rascal, The Beatles to Paulo Nutini…expect everything and more.
You seem very comfortable on stage and enjoy engaging with your audience. Is this something that comes naturally to you?
We have spent many years playing together and I think that comes across on stage. We are the best of friends and when you combine friendship and music thats only going to lead to fun times.
You’ve played at many weddings but whats been your favourite wedding so far?
Every wedding we play at is memorable, whether it be due to the free bar, the hog roast or the chocolate fountain, we are honoured to be a part of everyones special day. Its a lifelong memory. We recently played at a close friend of the bands wedding on NYE 2015, it was a great way to enter the new year and to be surrounded by your closest friends.
You all look very dapper, whats your favourite piece of vintage clothing?
I have a real 90s crazy abstract shirt fetish, although I just have a fetish for vintage clothes in general. I reckon I could start my own shop! What we love about vintage clothing is finding old, one off pieces, none of that mass produced shit that every Tom Dick and Harry have. No offence guys.
Electric Ocean are available for weddings & functions as well as public shows. For general enquiries or to see when Electric Ocean are playing near you then check out their website or 'like' their Facebook or check out their promo vid.
An interview with the mind behind the book, Paul Walsh.
Hi Paul! You've just released your first book, titled Self Talk. For people who haven't read it, could you tell us a little about it?
'Yo! It’s a short and compact read. I’m calling people’s attention to the their inner dialogue/Self Talk. Self Talk determines everything you do, the way you react to things and the meaning you give to things. The conversations you have with yourself about events/people/things in your life is what makes them seem the way them seem to you. Really grasping this on a deep level is potentially life changing. You’re responsible for literally everything in your world. Some “shit” things may happen but the reality is that you always have a choice in how you choose to respond to it. Your response to an event shapes the way you see it and ultimately how it feels. The person on youtube isn’t a stupid prick, that’s just a reflection of what you said to yourself in your head. Someone else might think they’re funny. What you see is a reflection of the conversations you have with yourself about it. You are responsible for what you perceive. The beauty of that is you can change the conversations you have with yourself and change what you perceive. Life is still tough when you think this way but you’ve made a big step towards directing how it’s gonna be for you.'
One thing I loved while reading your book was the real sense of your personality that comes through. Have you done much writing previously?
'Thanks, appreciate that. I haven’t done much writing previously beyond essays in college which isn’t really writing in my opinion. My whole approach was trying to write like the way I speak when I’m out and about. I know I have a strong personality so if i’m writing like the way I speak my personality will come through.'
What inspired you to write the book?
'I first had the idea of doing a book in December 2012. I have a degree in Philosophy and was confident about doing something pretty cool. I’m glad it didn’t transpire then because a few months after that I fell into a bit of a dip. I wouldn’t say depressed, more confused existential stuff. That lead me into reading more eastern spiritual philosophy which I have to say was a much needed addition to my outlook. It was during that time that it really hammered home for me that the world I am seeing was a total reflection of myself and my attitudes. I got myself out of that dip with gratitude practice, mindfulness practice and watching my Self Talk, really seeing how it’s the filter through which I am seeing the world, guiding it towards things/perceptions that are more positive than negative. It was after that I was like I’m definitely writing a book because I knew I could present it in a way that would have an impact on people. It's simple, i'm not trying to sound intelligent.'
What would you hope people take from reading Self Talk?
'Whatever conversation you choose to have yourself is what’s going to happen. Either in your actions or in the way you’re going to perceive and interpret events. And be grateful! It's something you have to practice consciously.'
How has the readers response been so far?
'Really good! It’s funny, here I am thinking I’m capable of doing this book and it having impact. Then when I hear that it’s having impact and people are feeling it i’m floored by it- really humbled, finding it hard to believe.'
Are there any areas in the book you would like to explore further and do you have any plans for a follow up book?
'Right now I can’t say there is another book. My focus is on getting this out there as far as it can go. I’m pretty sure though as things evolve and as I evolve their will be another one. It will come to me.'
Are there any known figures past or present who have inspired you or influenced your attitude?
Loads! I’m a fan of a lot of people. Anyone who is pushing the boat, having impact and being courageous i’m gonna be a fan of. I’ll mention a few. Richard Bandler, John Grinder, Hubert Benoit, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Aldous Huxley, Ekhart Tolle, Tim Ferriss, Tony Robbions, Dave Asprey, Elon Musk, Osho, Tiger Woods, Tom Ford, 50 Cent!'
I love the illustration in your book. Who's responsible for it?
'Me too! Fatti Burke. She is awesome. Check her out at www.fattiburke.com.'
Your very a recognisable bloke, and known for having some unusual tattoos. One of which is a bottle of ketchup on your stomach! What’s your favourite tattoo and why?
'hahaha! The ketchup bottle is a bit random alright. I hope it gets across how much I enjoy ketchup/sauce! This is hard to answer, i’m obviously a big fan of my own tattoos. I don’t want a favourite one, their each doing their own thing.'
Whats your favourite piece of vintage clothing you own?
'This! It’s me!'
You can purchase your copy of 'Self Talk' here: www.selftalk.ie
We strongly recommend you do, its a great read!
An interview with Richard Mcnamara.
Embrace released their first album in 1998, in 2014 they're still going strong. A little older, sure, but better for it. Their most recent album, Embrace, was forward thinking, melodic, and had good noises. Jez, and I met Richard nearly 10 years ago. He produced our album, we cut his lawn, and ate his food. This was back in the day, when we thought we were going to be rock stars, not clothing pioneers.
Here's our Rik, doing what he does best: singing, and acting. The Refugees single.
We recently caught up with Richard, guitarist, songwriter, producer, philosopher, hunk. He answered a few of our questions. Here is what he said:
What’s the best Thing about being in a band?
'I could be all pretentious and go on about that moment when you get a melody or lyric …or even the rush of getting a great audience response, but ultimately I think the best thing is getting to spend so much creative time with some of my favourite people on the planet ….. '
What’s your Favourite Embrace song?
'That’s a tough question because I have different favourites for different reasons….. Drawn From Memory was the first that Sprung to mind though!'
What’s the furthest distance that you have run? I assume that’s what ‘I Run’ is about?
'No it’s not but I’d say about 4 miles…..'
On tour what is the scariest situation you have got into?
'In Detroit the bus parked outside a club where there had been shootings in previous weeks, Danny almost got mugged but managed to lock his Taxi door just a split second before someone tried to open it …. The driver ended up escorting him on foot, through the traffic, with a gun under his jacket! I slept on the bus with my feet facing the club that night….'
We met about 8 years ago. At the time, you were producing up and coming bands? Did you take anything from that experience that you applied to the new Embrace album?
'Every time you step into a studio there’s a whole lot of learning going on because it’s very nature is one of discovery, but I guess the biggest lesson I learned was that focus is everything … as bands get bigger it becomes increasingly important to make more and more people happy with the material you’re producing and with that comes a whole glut of considerations that really shouldn’t ever get through the studio door … New bands don’t suffer that bullshit and re-learning that was important for this album! It sounds the most like Embrace of any album we’ve ever done hence it’s title ‘Embrace'
What’s the worst thing about being in a band?
'Waiting around, in a state of semi-panic, next to a fridge full of beer all the way up til stage time…..'
We have a lot of customers that are in a band. What would be the one piece of advice you would give them?
'The song is all that matters, everything else and I mean everything, is a distraction….. whether it’s buying gear that you ‘need’ or learning how to record/mix or even practising your instrument ….. you can forgive a good idea for being under rehearsed but a highly polished shit idea is still shit whatever…..'
What’s the most memorable gig you’ve played?
'Secret gig #19 in the pitch black was about as memorable as it gets in this game….'
What’s the worst question anyone has ever asked you in an interview? Is it this one?
'No, but I have been asked this question before ….. Do questions get much worse than….‘If your cat was horny, would you shag it?’ from a magazine in Spain.'
What song would you like played at your funeral?
'Debussy’s Clair de lune…… or Fuck the Police, NWA!'
What’s your greatest achievement?
'When Out of Nothing went Gold on it’s day of release …. Coming back from being dropped to being at number 1 was like turning an oil tanker round!'
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
'Doesn’t matter what you do the world is going to keep spinning …. perspective is everything!'
If you weren't a musician what would you be?
'I’d have my own Electronics company.'
What new bands are you enjoying at the moment? U2?
'Ha ha …. Not exactly ’new’ but The War on Drugs album is my jam at the moment ….'.
An interview with Toby Freeman
Why was the charity set up? How long have you been running?
The The Robin Cancer Trust was set up early 2012 following the death of my brother Robin, aged just 24, in 2011. He was diagnosed with a germ cell tumour in Jan and he passed away at St Helena Hospice in December the same year. Rob was was just about the most active, healthy and responsible guy I've ever know... But unfortunately we weren't aware of the signs and symptoms of this rare form of cancer, so we set up The RCT with the aim of raising awareness, trying to save young lives and make sure another family didn't go through what we did. Three years later, we're still going strong!
What exactly is Germ Cell Cancer?
Germ cells are the cells in your body that make up your reproductive cells - quite literally we're talking Testicles & Ovaries! These are the two most common forms of germ cell cancers, accounting for 95% of all testicular cancers and 1-2% of ovarian cancers (in total around 2,200 people per year in the UK). That's why our campaigns #TalkingBollocks and #YoureNotOvaryacting focus on these forms of germ cell cancer.
If there was one key message you were trying to send out, what would it be?
EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES. It really is that simple - germ cell cancers are over 90% curable if detected early (at stage 1) - to put this into perspective, Rob was diagnosed at stage 4 - there is no stage 5... This is why we raise awareness of the signs & symptoms of germ cell cancer, as well as how to self-exam. Our campaigns aim to increase knowledge and awareness whilst breaking down the embarrassment factor felt when talking about our 'privates'.
You are involved in loads of events, what has been your favourite event and why?
Haha not sure I can put my finger on one specific event! Every event is different, bringing it's own challenges, surprises and most importantly, rewards. I think one event I'll always hold close to my heart is Mayday Mayhem at V-bar Colchester - we launched the charity at this event in 2012, surrounded by friends and family wanting to support The RCT and it's grown every year since. Along with Rockin' Robin (similar event in Dec each year) V-Bar have raised over £4,500 for us! Incredible.
A lot of the independent companies around Colchester have seen to have adopted you as their charity - why do you think that is?
I think Colchester as a town has adopted us because we're a local family, affected by the tragedy of loosing Rob, just looking to just save lives. We're not a big faceless charity looking for your money - we're a board of trustees, along with amazing supporters looking to raise awareness and give something back to the town. I think that's why we work so closely with the independent companies in Colchester, we're always looking for a give and take, supporting each other and reaching the same audience (our campaigns are aimed at 16-35 year olds). We love this town, and I think they appreciate what we try and do for the community.
Any plans coming up that you would want to tell us about?
YES! We will be hosting #TheRCT Celebration! at Colchester Arts Centre (link below) on Sunday 30th November - and you're ALL invited! It's a FREE to attend event, from 19:00-22:30hrs with an evening of updated on the previous year, leading into 2015 and some awesome live music from some of Colchester's finest musical talent! This is an event we host annually to say thank you to all our supporters, to give something back and have some fun! This is not to be missed!
If people want to donate to the charity, where can they do this?
The easiest way to donate is via text - simply text TRCT14 £(amount up to 20 pounds)
Or you can visit our JustGiving page (link below) and donate there - don't forget to add 'Gift Aid' to donate an extra 25% free of charge!
Facebook: like The Robin Cancer Trust
Twitter: follow @RCTcharity
Instagram: follow @RCTcharity
Youtube: subscribe to The Robin Cancer Trust
Secret Vintage Fair is a great idea, giving a modern and on-trend twist to the classic vintage fair. Based in East Anglia (the mother land) SVF is held at a different top secret location each time. The details of which will only go to their social media followers, and mailing list.
"How does that work?" I hear you say. "That doesn't make sense! Why not shout about it from the roof tops?" Well I tell you what…it only bloody does (work). Each fair is packed full of bargain hunters. The word gets round, and each person feels that they have discovered a hidden gem.
The fair is always packed full of amazing stalls, arts and craft, and vintage clothing. We even have a stall at every event. If that isn't exciting enough, then I dunno what is! I honestly would really recommend you find out about the next fair…
When is the next one? ahhh well that's a secret innit. If you want a clue, then click on this link.
INTERVIEW WITH RODDY WOOMBLE
(Front man of Idlewild and solo artist)
Formed in 1995, Idlewild were only youngsters when they first hit the heights. I remember being proper excited by the noise they made on their first full length album "Hope is Important". It was, for me, that something extra I had been looking for after Blur had made such a big impact on my life.
At University "100 Broken Windows" was my soundtrack to going out, getting drunk and chasing girls (not literally...well sometimes literally, but it was consensual).
The Remote Part" was my special boy album. It came at a time in the early 2000's when Jez and I were playing music ourselves, touring, recording and doing too many poor radio interviews. This album was on repeat in the van, with Chaz N Dave's greatest hits.
"Warnings/Promises" came out at the time I really believed Idlewild were going to make the transition into the international mega-band. From my point of view I thought the album was strong but for whatever reason it didn't quite happen for them. El Capitan was Jez's song of 2004. It was the last song we listened to on 31st December. It ushered in a year of anticipation for great things for our band that didn't quite happen. Listening to that song will always make me think of hope, and as we know... thats important.
"Make Another World"- To be honest, at the time of the release, I was not massive fan of this album. It had its moments though, and we went to a show where they played this album in chronological order. It ignited my interest in this album, and as it turns out, its really good! If I were to recommened a track, it would be 'Future Works'.
"Post electric blues", for me was great because it had a good photo of Allan on it (other guitarist that isn't Rod). It came out at a time that our own band was on the verge of finishing. For that reason it makes me feel a bit sad, although by this time we were regularly going to see the band to hang out after a show and sell them vintage clothes. This was around 2010.
Although Roddy hasn't actually bought anything from Best Days, he will (right?), he nearly did a few months back. For those of you who don't know, Roddy has been playing lots of solo shows, and recently played a cool gig at the Arts Centre. It was a stripped back acoustic affair, where about 60 people got to see it. Jez and I were among the lucky bastards. Roddy was meant to pop in and have a look about but one of the band fell over and they had to spend the afternoon in A&E instead. Colchester general isn't for the faint hearted for people at the best of times, but knowing you could have been in the bosom of Best Days, it must have been like a dagger to the heart.
What I am, in a pretty un-elequent way, trying to say, is that I can track my life with Idlewild albums. So what next? They are releasing a new album pretty soon, after a massive break. What does this album hold for the next chapter of my life?.... Time will tell.
So now I have wetted your appetite, do you wanna read our interview with Roddy?? Well here it is (I promise you/warn you, its some pretty in-depth stuff).
What was the first record you ever bought and do you still like it?
'Five star 'silk and steel'. Yes'.
What was the first gig you ever went to and was it any good?
'The Pouges in 1991. Joe Strummer was fronting them. Shane was in rehab. It was amazing'.
Who was your first girlfriend and have you scoured facebook to see what she looks like now?
'No I am still good friends with her. A great person'.
Do you remember the night you decided to start a band? What advice would the present day you give the young Roddy?
'I do and it was shambolic but memorable. No advice from me - play some gigs and read some good books'.
How do Idlewild go about writing some songs? Is there a template or does each song emerge in a different way?
'Generally Rod and I get the ideas together and then we work on them as a band. Not always though'.
You have the looks of a Hollywood actor. Have you ever done any acting? Were you any good?
'I was in the Carnoustie theatre club. I wasn't any good'.
If somebody who hadn't heard any Idlewild songs asked you to play one song to them to represent the band, which track would you play them? This must have happened at some point right?
'I would play them our new single'.
Which album are you most proud of?
'The new one and 'warnings/promises'.
How important was/is fashion to you? I know flannel shirts and chunky knits are. What are your biggest fashion faux pas to date?
'I wore dungarees a lot in the nineties which I got slagged for a bit. I like wool and old denim. And tweed, although it itches'.
You were very much pro independence in the recent Scottish referendum. Why do you feel this strongly?
'Because Scotland is not represented by Westminster. Small countries work better and the young people of Scotland know that'.
What do you believe to be the best movie ever made? Hint; it's Jaws.
Michael Stipe, Eddie Vedder, Chris Martin. Snog, marry avoid?
'Michael and Eddie I like more, musically, but I have met them all and they are gentlemen'.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
Why do you live on an Island? Are there times when you miss the mainland?
'I don't like being surrounded by people. I never miss the mainland'.
Ghost Estates are a Rock Electro band, based in Dublin Ireland, with a sound once described as a combination of Pop smarts and Punk snarls. I know what your thinking.. that sounds great right?? Buuuuut I'm not massively sure what the hell that means... Well don't panic, because here's a YouTube vid of their most recent single 'In your dreams' to help clear it up for you.
I've seen this video a few times now and love it every time. It cleverly flips between slow-mo and sped-up scenes with gracious ease and leaves you wanting to crack open that hairy old pot of red 'Dax' wax and slap it on generously (regardless whether you have hair or not).
Check out their video below then scroll down to enjoy a short interview with Ghost Estates drummer and friend of Best Days, Dave Mulvaney.
Hi Dave, how are you mate? I see Ghost Estates have been super busy recently playing lots of shows, including Electric Picnic; one of Irelands biggest music festivals. How did that go?
'Good evening sir. Yes we've been quite busy this summer! We had lots of great opportunities. Electric picnic was amazing! So good that 2 weeks later i think we all still wrecked.'
You've come from a background of more traditional garage/punk bands, how are you finding playing with Ghost Estates, who lean on the electronic/pop side of things a little more?
'Yeah cheap freaks were a lot different in the sense of genre but I'm enjoying this a lot at the moment! We've been super busy and I always find it's good to explore all types of music! So far so good!'
The Video for 'In your dreams' links nicely to the title of the song (which only becomes apparent at the end of the video). If you could choose, who would be your dream band for Ghost Estates to support, past or present?
'Maaaaan seeing as this is just me being interviewed...I am of course going to say Mark E Smith of The Fall. We recently played with Jesus and Mary chain so we're on the right road! Fingers crossed someday Mark E will phone me up! '
There's a rumor out there (not sure where I read it, could have been NME or something) that you have a nickname you go by.. 'The Wig' I believe? Do you wear a wig or is this just some simple Tom Foolery?
'haha the wig... years ago I was in a mates grandparents house drinking a can, and his nan came home who I was being introduced too at the time. Next of all she grabs my hair and try's to rip it off. She basically thought it was a wig. And I'm lucky enough to have had such a savage nickname stick. :('
Whats your favourite piece of vintage clothing you have and whats the classic Dave Mulvaney look?
'My leather jacket! But sadly it's getting fit for the bin!'
Whats up next for Ghost Estates and when can we see you playing over this side of the pond? We'd love to get you playing a Leisure some time!!
'Right now we're finishing off some gigs here in Ireland then from October onwards we'll be getting the second album finished and ready to release! Plans to the UK will have to happen early next year!'
Thanks for chatting with us Dave. We can't wait to hear some more Ghost Estates!!
Follow Ghost Estates on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ghostestates
Recently we had the opportunity to get on the road with the Best Days mobile to spend a weekend at Folk East Festival, inside the welcoming walls of a the Secret Vintage Fair. The weekend consisted of a high consumption of local ale, fine foods, Folk music and dancing. We can thank one group of individuals especially for contributing to our enjoyment of Folk music and dancing (and the ales too) and that group is Addison's Uncle. Saturday night they had us dancing at the front of the Soap Box stage waving our bandana's high with the 'bandana posse' (a story for another time) having a ruddy good old time.
You can see the video to there new single 'B1159' here:
We caught up with front man Phillip Pearson, singer songwriter, guitarist and crowd charmer of Addison's Uncle to ask him a few questions, here's how it went:
Hi Phillip of Addison's Uncle! We recently saw you and your band play live at the Folk East Festival and loved the show. How was it for you?
'It was a great show. We love the Soapbox stage at FolkEast, I did one of my first ever gigs for Amy who runs it, as did James (ukulele) and that how we met. Getting a crowd of that size and enthusiasm all dancing to some original folk music is an absolute pleasure'.
For those reading who might not be familiar, how would you describe the Addison's Uncle sound?
'We're a 'stampy' English Folk Ensemble. There can be anything up to 7 of us with guitars, fiddle, mandolin, ukulele, bass, percussion and the kick drum for added stampiness. Its mostly upbeat, toe tapping, heart warming, singalong music'.
You seem very comfortable on stage and enjoy engaging with your audience. Is something that comes naturally to you?
'Maybe. I've done it a lot, and I have a great time with my band mates. We are all friends before we're a band, and I think that shows. We all have such a blast. The story tilling inbetween the songs is definitely something that helps us stand out from the corwd though. I like to tell the stories behind the songs, it really helps people engage with the lyrics of the song'.
You released your debut single recently, 'B1159', which was was featured on the BBC news and has gained quite a bit of attention online. Whats the first step you take into writing a song?
'Yeah, all the publicity from the B1159 single and video has been amazing, as has the response. With that song, and most of my songs actually I need to have a story first. I regularly have stories on the go that are a work in progress. Sometimes the music comes first though, and I can fit a story that suits the feel of the music to it. It's no one size fits all. I try to keep open minded. One thing I stand by though is that I don't write things down at first. If an idea floats around for long enough then its a keeper. I think it was John Lennon who said "if I cant remember what I've written, how can I expect other people to?".
We were really impressed to see you recently played three gigs in one day. Thats a serious days work! How did you manage to get through it all?
'With patience and alcohol! No it was a great day. Each gig was very different so the sets we played varied hugely at all three. That helps keep it interesting for us, and unique for the audiences too. We try to tailor what we do to the gig'.
Phillip, as fellow vintage lover, whats your favourite piece of vintage clothing you own?
Wow, thats a good one. I got a bandana from you guys at folk east and its been hanging off my rolled up trousers ever since. I have a few good bow ties and cravats too, but my favourite has to be a 1920's tails coat I bought in a little shop in Harrogate. It comes out from time to time and I always feel amazing in it'.
Whats next in the calendar for Addison's Uncle?
We have our album "I'd Like to Tell a Story" coming out really soon with our Live DVD from Festival Too included in the package. We got to play to 12,000 people there and had some great guys from CrossFade Media filming us. They did our B1159 video too and have been brilliant. We head to Europe in October to play in Holland and Germany which is super exciting! Mainly though, we are gigging all the time, and keep addisonsuncle.co.uk updated regularly. All that and planning a UK tour for summer 2015 ought to keep us busy!
Thanks for you time Phillip, we look forward to catching up again soon with you and the rest of the band!!
Have you ever been out, and thought; You know what this bar needs? Cocktails called Tyler Durden, Charlie Sheen or Jesse Pinkman. Happy, hot bar staff. Banging Alt tunes. Pictures of Jessica Rabbit on the walls. Cool bands. Free entry. A hip vintage shop, hosting it's monthly club night here. Well look no further. The V-bar hosts our club night LEISURE on the last Friday of the month (see our events section). It's an amazing place, and we encourage you to drop by to see for yourself. You'll most likely find one of us in there (probably Matt).
Skinny Jean Gardeners
Have you seen our new living window display? ( If you are reading this post Spring/Summer 2014, we should say, DID you see our window display? )
Our boys Skinny Jean Gardeners have worked with us to create this floral masterpiece. If you want a slice of Rock or Roll in your garden, then these are the guys to help you. Are you into making a garden in a black Cab, then driving it to Glastonbury? Or sending a vegetable into space with a webcam, to see how long it takes to explode? If the answer is, 'yeah, sure', then check out their site. it's well worth it. They've even been on Blue Peter.
I've never been inspired to write a gig review before today. Even when my A Level media studies coursework was to write a fanzine, I copy and pasted the reviews from somebody else. Looking back maybe that's why I got a D.
Anyhow, on Wednesday night I went to see Embrace play live at the Shepherd's Bush Empire.
It was the last night of their first proper tour in 8 years and the atmosphere was appropriately triumphant. It would appear that Embrace fans are a particularly passionate and loyal bunch. Ready and willing to sing along to every word, happy to wait nearly a decade for a new album and evidently be just as into the new material as they are the old stuff.
It would have been very easy for the band to play the hits, make everyone nostalgic, count the money and move on but the set was peppered with tracks from the new album which in my opinion were some of the highlights. You can't really argue with 'Ashes' as an opener, but the blue touch paper was really lit about 3 songs in when the band played Refugees which was the lead single from the new album. Guitarist Richard McNamara provides soaring lead vocals on that track and when brother Danny joins him for the middle 8 I was touched in my special place. From then on in they had me in the palm of their hands. The night flew by in a haze of hits (All you Good Good People, Gravity, Come Back To What You Know), lost classics (Save Me, That's all Changed Forever) and the pick of the new album (Quarters , Follow you home, Thief on My Island).
I suppose it helps that I think the recent album is the cats pyjamas. It sounds relevant (which is code for it's got bleeping synthesizers on it) but it still sounds unmistakably Embrace. There has always been something authentic about them that I don't sense from similarly anthemic bands. When Danny sings I believe him. The band play their instruments like it's the last time they will use them. It's real. That's why they can take 8 years to release an album and still have thousands of people care. Splendid and tremendous.