Live Review: Holding Absence @ The Key Club, Leeds

Date: 23/03/19

Support:  The Lunar Process, The Nightmares, Luke Rainsford

It has certainly been a long long wait for Holding Absence to bring out their debut record but it’s absolutely moving, haunting and powerful to cement them as ones to watch in 2019 as they consolidate their place as one of the UK’s finest musical heavy exports. With that debut record released into the world, the Welsh up and comers (signed to the phenomenal Sharptone Records) make their way up and down the country on what could be their most important tour ever. Tonight they hit up Leeds and from what I’ve seen in recent memory, it’s a place which could make or break some bands.

The Lunar Process opened things for the night but honestly, it did take a while for people to come in because I think final soundchecks may have been slightly delayed. nevertheless, this was a band who immediately ripped into the audience with sheer force and never slowed down for anything when they played. To see that they’re just opening for Holding Absence is a shame because this is a band I want to hear more of and their stage presence and their performance encapsulates them years ahead of their time and I wouldn’t be surprised if big things would come their way soon. Additionally, I had no knowledge this band would be playing on the night either but I’m so happy to see Holding Absence reaching out to bands of this calibre because it was a welcomed surprise.

Now, The Nightmares seemed as if all they had going for them was the atmosphere of their performance. There were some good reactions to a few of their tracks but I do have to question why they played straight after a heavy hitting set from The Lunar Process. This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy what they performed, rather I thought it was a welcomed change from the usual hardcore band supports I’ve seen of late and its this diversity which should be becoming to shows on all tours. Namely, their gothic nature is something which has been missed from shows I’ve been to and would love to see more of in the future where they can only excel.

Next to take up the reigns was Luke Rainsford. The wait to see this lad again, this time with a full band was truly worth it. There was some anticipation from the crowd for his set and his reception was quite shocking even to him, as I had a quick chat with the musician after the show. Here though, there is more diversity because Luke Rainsford is quite unlike any of the shows on the rest of the tour bill. This is probably the best thing about Luke because he’s not conforming to any norms or expectations that he has to be heavy but his songs cut deeper than most and thinking quickly to ‘Frame’ and ‘Home Safe’ these are some of the best examples of his work. What he delivered though was a full energetic set with some assistance from the audience, just made them love his music even more. Luke Rainsford is a one of a kind artist in the scene right now and performances such as this just drive us in more to hear his voice.

Before I say anything about Holding Absence, I do have to say I’ve only ever caught a glimpse of them live before their Leeds date and to say they were enjoyable would just be an insult. Their debut self-titled record is one which is tipped to be a favourite of 2019 but when seen live, their tracks just emphasise who they truly are. Up and comers? Yes. Ones to watch?  Absolutely. But if asked that their record would do great things for them, I’d have to answer unquestionably. This is because they’re a band who come up possibly once in a decade, possibly similar to their Welsh counterparts Dream State who are fighting to be heard and it’s this record which will make or break them.

From start to finish, their set was a heart-pounding, heavy hitting and mesmerising performance, the best I’ve seen of 2019 and to cap off what is a potential best show for myself as well. From ‘Perish’ to ‘Monochrome’ to their closing track Penance, they might have well have announced they’re going to stay for a while and don’t expect anything less than the best from us because it’s very rare you see and hear about these shows because I found when I first started listening to Holding Absence and I still hear them as one of the most inspiring bands because of the way they conduct themselves, I’ve never seen such an in sync group of people whom just acts as if they’re moving as one when on stage.

With their trademark track of Monochrome, this is one of the most pulsating trademarks of their body of work and Lucas Woodman (Vocals) is mesmerising to see as he commands the crowd with his lyrics. One thing is for certain though, and that’s their reign on the scene is going to come, hopefully soon.

I do have to be truthful for this part and say there was a bit of disappointment where there were some technical difficulties in the Keyboards which meant (as far as I can tell) from a setlist perspective that Marigold had to be cut from the set where the wondering fans just wanted them to continue with it all. It is a disappointment to see an error such as this cast a shadow over a perfect set but straight after, the band kept calm and carried on with ‘Like A Shadow’, much to the audience’s approval. For their set to end as it did, I’m sure it’ll be rectified in the near future for when they return, they’ll be back in full force with their Yorkshire leigon waiting for them to return.

Rating: 7/10

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