Live Review: Funeral for a Friend / Holding Absence – 02 Academy, Sheffield 11.03.2022

Jason Siddall

Friday night and a trip to a sold out 02 Academy to see Funeral for a Friend. This gig had been rearranged twice due to the pandemic and judging by the huge crowd buzz as I entered the venue, highly anticipated. Sometimes you just have a gut feeling that it’s going to be a night to remember.

First for me was Holding Absence who I hadn’t seen previously live, a hard hitting band hailing from Cardiff, formed in 2015. The group consists of lead vocalist Lucas Woodland, guitarist Scott Carey, bassist Benjamin Elliot and drummer Ashley Green. Opening up with ‘Celebration Song’ Lucas has a powerful voice and commands the stage. The band are all excellent with hard hitting drummer Ashley holding things down, the overall live sound they create is massive.

Playing a set with four songs from 2021 album ‘The Greatest Mistake of my Life’ the crowd lapped it up. Closing with ‘Wilt” I was left wanting to hear more from Holding Absence and will definitely go and see them again. Check out the bands website for a really interesting and well produced short film created to support the new album.

So onto the main event and Funeral for a Friend, no introduction required really, formed in 2001 these Welsh lads have a huge fan base and rightly so with a brilliant back catalogue to lean on they burst onto the stage with ‘All the Rage’

As anticipated the crowd were bouncing from the off, It seemed to me that they pretty much knew the words to the entire set. The band smashed through fan favourites from the albums ‘Hours’ and ‘Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation’ amongst others.

A brilliant and friendly rock show atmosphere, mosh pits, crowd surfing, people enthusiastically pulled from the crowd by security staff, crowd chanting, you get the idea ! hopefully the photo’s help with creating that atmosphere if you couldn’t make it.

I nipped up onto the balcony to get a few shots during the show and noticed a wide audience age range, testament to the bands generational appeal.

Closing the main set with ‘ Escape Artists Never Die’ the crowd bayed for more and were not disappointed as the band returned for a three song encore finishing with the iconic ‘History’. As the
crowd sang along I couldn’t help but feel that I was watching one of the UK’s best hard rock bands of a generation, a brilliant end to a special night.

This tour is pretty much sold out with tickets in demand and hard to come by, If you can get a ticket to see Funeral For a Friend go for it, you will not be disappointed.

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