Live Review: Holding Absence – o2 Academy, Leicester 20.01.2023 Plus Gallery

This Friday night in Leicester might be cold enough for you to not feel your toes, but that certainly isn’t the case in the o2 Academy. 8:30pm is where this evening really begins and though middle act Void of Vision may be a little heavier than you’d expect for a Holding Absence support, the crowd are into it regardless. VoV are giving their all on stage and the more the 40 minute set goes on, the more the crowd enjoy their rather theatrical set. Frontman Jack Bergin has a unique look and a punk attitude but his call to action for a jumping crowd doesn’t quite get this room moving. A second attempt is a little better but still leaves a lot to be desired which is confusing seeing as when you move through the room, you can feel the audience falling for this support hook, line & sinker; everyone seems to be much more receptive to a circle pit than they do jumping. Jack‘s final request to get the crowd off their feet fairs a lot better & the cheers between songs get louder. Their job to get this room warmed up is complete.

Holding Absence have got themselves quite a dedicated fanbase and as the show starts, you can absolutely see why; the entire band came out swinging and their isn’t a person in the room who isn’t picking up what Holding Absence are putting down; lead singer Lucas Woodland is everything this audience wants and more. This 14 song setlist is a perfect mix of pop punk with some softer moments and every track is going to be preformed with their whole chests. ‘Monochrome‘, ‘Beyond Belief‘ & ‘Like a Shadow‘ are great warm up songs before everyone finds their voice with ‘Birdcage‘ and scream “I’m a sinner” back to the stage. Lucas asks for a circle pit going around the sound desk and whilst his wish is their command, it’s a pretty weak pit that doesn’t last long though the thought was there. It’s a pretty uneventful evening and it seems this crowd are only here to lose their voices so there isn’t too much action for the night.

Next up on tonight’s setlist is ‘Longing Aching‘ and we’re treated to Void of Vision‘s Jack to help us out with the chorus, adding a bit more grunge to one of the heavier songs of the night. The grunge continues for just a little long as we’re given a couple of Holding Absence’s older tracks. ‘Saint Cecilia‘ turns the volume of the crowd up a notch; not everyone is joining in but those who are are living their best lives. Just before we head into ‘Penance‘ there is a technical issue on stage; queue Lucas talking to the crowd to fill the silence and giving us a little back story on the song they’d just played for us. Leicester seem to get a little antsy as the issues continue and they make their own entertainment by talking and starting a Freddie Mercury style ‘Ay Oh’ chant that, much like the circle pit, doesn’t last long. A cheer bursts through the o2 Academy’s 2nd room as we’re told that everything is all good and we’re slowly but surely lead into the heaviest song of the night.

Penance‘ appears to be the beginning of the end as the band take a short break off stage and hold us all over with some instrumental music through the venue speakers. It’s time for the songs everyone has been waiting for. People turn to their friends in glee as ‘Coffin‘ starts but ‘Afterlife’ easily becomes the loudest song of the night. Lucas literally splits the crowd in 2 for the final chorus of ‘Afterlife‘ before turning the entire room into a mosh pit. We end on ‘Wilt‘ which I was expecting to over take ‘Afterlife‘ but it appears that that just isn’t possible.

Unfortunately for us, this show is over in a flash. This welsh 4 piece give more passion than most & it becomes abundantly clear from the moment they step on stage that this is what they love to do and their short but powerful setlist is truly enjoyed by all.

Previous Live Review: Wallows / May-a - Eventim Apollo, London 18.01.2023
Next Live Review: Lauren Housley and the Northern Cowboys / Nigel Wearne - Alder Bar, Sheffield  21.01.2023

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