Live Review: Holding Absence From O2 Forum Kentish Town, London, 23rd November 2023

Holding Absence returned to the O2 Forum Kentish Town a year after their incredible performance at the 2022 Heavy Music Awards. The band hailing from Cardiff, Wales have grown leaps and bounds over the last 8 years and have been on the road growing a diehard fan base and building notoriety behind their name playing at least 250 shows since the end of Covid.

Vocalist Lucas Woodland is being recognised as one of the best modern voices in rock and alongside the current lineup of guitarist Scott Carey, bassist Benjamin Elliot and drummer Ashley Green, Holding Absence have easily become one of the bands to watch out for.

Holding Absence’s latest release, The Noble Art of Self Destruction, kicks off the night with Head Prison Blues and A Crooked Melody. Straight off the bat there are drinks flying and crowd surfing with the crowd belting out every word for the entirety of the set. Between the blue flashing lights and Lucas’ high kicks, Gravity is next on the list. The passion between the words and melody resonates, proof being many tear filled eyes around the room. Aching Longing and Scissors bring the metalcore to the set with guitarist Scott providing the screams and the crowd setting off pools of pits around the forum. 

Bringing the tone down for a stripped down version of Like A Shadow, Lucas explains that this venue is very special to the band. From the artists they’ve seen play and playing the venue for the first time, to losing his voice and still hearing the crowd sing back their words, you could feel the love shared around the room and how Holding Absence have found a solid place in the hearts of the audience. Lucas truly shows off his voice with it echoing through the acoustics of the forum. The last chorus sees the audience sing solo. “The echo of your goodbye it lingers like a shadow and how can I make you stay a little longer?” An incredible influx of cheers and applause entails.

Honey Moon and Wilt wind down the set with a dreamy and atmospheric taste. As Lucas grabs a guitar and several of the audience climb onto shoulders, an influx of hands up and phone lighters fill the room. The impassioned cries of lyrics from the crowd made it impossible to not feel connected with the words. “If I admit that our lives were doomed to entwine I’d turn back the time for your piece of mind. Hold me now, for a little bit. The love that we watched wilt.” 

A reappearance of tracks from The Greatest Mistake Of My Life kick off the encore with the first being Celebration Song. “I’m alive!” Lucas proclaims as a myriad of confetti showers the room. The energy amongst the crowd is immense and when Afterlife begins to play their spirit turns electric. A choir of voices come together for the intro. “I know I’m out of sight but am I out of mind? “And when I close my eyes I dream I’ll see you in the afterlife!”. 

The Angel In The Marble ends the night with a final wave along – appropriate as the final track of their latest release. Holding Absence really have the ability to bring connection through their lyrics and with their final song left some real words to hold on to. 

“I am a puzzle, I am a painting. I am a work of art in the making.”


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