With seven UK top ten albums, a multitude of hit singles and almost two decades of experience under their belts, 2018 Stendhal Festival headliners Embrace will arrive at Ballymully Cottage Farm as arguably the most successful group to ever top the bill at the Limavady showcase.
Combining anthemic hooks with an almost orchestral, sweeping rock sound, Embrace have enjoyed a stellar career to date and with latest album ‘Love is a basic need’ reaching number five in the UK album charts this past March, the band show no signs of slowing down.
“The last few months have been really good for us, “says lead singer Danny McNamara, “We were so pleased the Album went to number five in the charts and then the tour off the back of it was brilliant. We sold out shows up and down the UK and the audience reacted really well to everything we played off the new record, so yeah the last couple of months have been really good.
“The reviews have all been great as well. When we started out the internet wasn’t what it is today so now you get so much feedback and reviews and such a wave of opinion with people talking about you on social media, that it can be a bit overwhelming.
“The great thing for us though is that people who have been talking about our new album have all been in agreement that this is the best thing we have put out since ‘The Good Will Out’.”
With such an awareness of their fans and how instrumental they are in Embrace’s continued success, it was no surprise that Danny has fond memories of playing and touring for their fans in Northern Ireland.
“Our first gig in Northern Ireland was a support show in the Limelight. I remember it really well because it was one of the first times I felt myself really growing in confidence on stage. We played ‘My weakness is none of your business’ and I could feel that Belfast crowd really get into it and in turn that helped me understand my performance a little bit better and helped me grow as a performer.
“We came back to the Limelight a few times as the headline act after that and I’ve always really enjoyed the energy of Northern Irish crowds.”
With their tour done and dusted the Bands attention is now set on a number of summer festival gigs, including their headline slot at Stendhal on Saturday, August 11th.
Having played every major festival in the UK, Embrace are seasoned pros on the circuit and Danny says that some of the best times he has had with the band have been at festivals.
“Like for so many other bands playing Glastonbury is always something that will stay with you,” Danny recounts.
“We’ve played the Pyramid stage and The Other Stage there, David Bowie played the Pyramid Stage the year we did, so that is a memory the band holds dear. It’s incredibly nerve wracking though as there are so many good bands on all around you. The Happy Mondays played before us and when they are on it they are tough to follow, thankfully we were on it that day too and we had had a great experience.”
Another great festival memory for the band occurred at T in the Park in Scotland.
“One year we headlined the big top at T in the Park and they had to take the sides off the tent because so many people turned out to see us,” Danny recalls.
“It was one of the biggest and loudest crowds we ever played to. Our Richard’s (Embrace Guitarist and Danny’s Brother, Richard McNamara) Amp bust about three songs in and nobody noticed because the audience was so loud we could barely hear ourselves play.”
Looking ahead to Stendhal in the Summer Danny said: “We are looking forward to getting back over to Northern Ireland, particularly to play somewhere new to us. We’ve looked at a few videos online and the festival looks great and we are really happy to be a part of it.
“We don’t want to spoil exactly what we are planning for the set but you can expect all the hits and we’ll be aiming to make it an unforgettable night for everyone who comes along to see us.”