It’s always a joyous occasion when a local band break through the barrier from local scene heroes to bonafide rock stars and play a homecoming headline gig. Over the last few years, that’s exactly what has happened to South Wales boys Holding Absence. Their latest album The Greatest Mistake Of My Life has catapulted the band onto magazine covers and festival headlining slots and tonight sees them return home for a headline gig at Y Plas in Cardiff University.
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It’s quite an emotional night all around: the atmosphere is palpable, and the crowd seems absolutely stuffed with people who’ve taken every step of this journey with Holding Absence and are genuinely overwhelmed at seeing their favourites take the stage. The band fronted by one of the nicest people in rock, Lucas Woodland, look slightly overcome at the ovation that greets them but as he shouts “I’m alive!” heralding the start of Celebration Song, the crowd gladly join him in a massive celebration of being here, now and right at this moment. It really is quite something to behold.
They waste no time in blasting through a set mostly culled from The Greatest…, making use of all the stage space available to them while the crowd sing along to every – and I do mean EVERY – word. A constant stream of crowdsurfers make the party a little wilder, before another poignant moment in a night filled with them: Lucas introduces his sister Caitlin for an epic rendition of Die Alone (In Your Lover’s Arms), and there are people crying in the aisles.
Gravity is up next, providing perhaps the biggest singalong of the night, and Holding Absence’s ace in the hole, powerhouse drummer Ashley Green, even takes time to bring back the greatest of rock show traditions, the drum solo. Afterlife and Wilt send the crowd on their way in what can only be described as a triumphant homecoming. A special night for a special band and one that fans in attendance will hold dear in their hearts for a long time to come.
Y Plas, Cardiff University Students Union, Thurs 28 Oct
words CHRIS ANDREWS
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