Live Reviews

LIVE REVIEW: Holding Absence, Yours Truly, As Everything Unfolds, Electric Ballroom, London, 06/11/2021

For post-hardcore meets tuneful rock quartet Holding Absence, their wholeheartedly deserved ascent in music has been one of pure magic. Coming out of their hometown of Cardiff some six short years ago, Holding Absence absolutely stormed their ascent in the alternative music scene, with their atmospheric amalgamation of belting anthemic choruses, battering drums and big guitar riffs on their monochromatic hard-hitting self-titled debut. To follow in the footsteps of such a strong self-titled takes some beating, but the band have done it with their sonically, lyrically, thematically and visually stunning second album The Greatest Mistake Of My Life, released earlier this year. A beautifully colourful masterpiece from start to finish, with its heavenly, ethereal, heavy sound and emotionally complex storytelling, The Greatest Mistake Of My Life represents everything Holding Absence have said and stood by throughout their career to date.

With their live shows, Holding Absence gigs always feel like such a grandiose occasion, full of gratitude, greatness and raw-fuelled up emotion. Having already earned some big festival slots this year at Download Pilot, Reading And Leeds and Slam Dunk Festival, the band have recently rounded up their UK run of shows ahead of supporting fellow British band Creeper throughout December, in support of their masterpiece of a second album.

Receiving support from two more of the brightest and rising prospects in alternative music, including As Everything Unfolds and Yours Truly. In terms of their own time of stage headlining the Electric Ballroom in Brixton, as once small Welsh newcomers, Holding Absence put on a spectacularly stunning display of pure genuine emotion from a band who deserve only greatness.

“I’m alive” belts vocalist Lucas Woodland on set opener Celebration Song, taken from the band’s second record. Proven to give you goosebumps every time that opening line kicks in with an outpouring of passion and Woodland’s powerful leg kicks and arm punches. The song’s symbolic message of existential dread, losing so much along the way, yet managing to come out the other side of the tunnel with glimmers of optimism are gut punching themes all too many people in that packed-out sweaty underground small venue in the heart of London could relate to in the past year and a half of isolation, loss and emotional turmoil. But it has now seen them reach this moment (still one of many peoples first show back after 18 months of zero live music) of euphoric live music that has somehow eased the pain of the past eighteen months for everyone present in the Electric Ballroom. The atmosphere filled with endearing emotions from both the band and the crowd. 

Elsewhere down the line of the London show, The Greatest Mistake Of My Life tracks filled up the setlist, with the crowd surfing bodies flowing over the barrier during Curse Me With Your Kiss, the wondrous and mellow Beyond Belief, alongside the weighty and heavy nomoreroses making the atmosphere of the night only even more palpable that it already was. Later, the band also brought out Yours Truly talent Mikalia Delagado to fill the vocals of Lucas’ sister Caitlyn on the touching Die Alone (In Your Lovers Arms) to absolute perfection, no dry eye left in the house after the climatic moments, the subtle indie-pop vibes of the moving In Circles followed, finishing off the second album setlist songs with Afterlife, ethereal and infectious, gaining one of the biggest sing-a-longs of the show.

The band didn’t shy away from performing some of their earlier stuff as per every Holding Absence show. Their self-titled debut album getting the outing it deserved, with Monochrome, the music video which follows a lonely outcast in society turning to bad activities to cope with feelings of loneliness a feeling felt surely by the majority of the people packing out the Electric Ballroom on Saturday evening, a place of community and belonging bringing us together. Gravity and Like A Shadow are two rock powerhouses of Holding Absence song, Ash Green’s punchy drums bouncing off the walls of the venue. The volume just got a whole load louder for those two tracks.

Closing out their triumphant, moving and monumental show in traditional style with staple setlist closer Wilt, Woodland’s vocals pouring out with the utmost gratefulness, love and catharsis for the show Holding Absence were just about to wrap up. A special night for a special band, one in which they will hold dear to their hearts for a very long time, upgrading from The Underworld in 2019 to Scala in the same year and now Electric Ballroom in 2021, Holding Absence are a band climbing up the live music ladder to much deserves and thrilling effect.

10/10

Written by: Katie Conway-Flood

Katie Conway-Flood
Katie Conway-Flood is a music journalist, music publicist and general band enthusiast. For several years, since graduating university with a first class degree in music business, Katie has written single, album and live reviews, and regularly contributed to news stories and feature pieces for a plethora of online music publications. Katie is otherwise a pop-punk, pop-rock listener and ethical vegan.