DS Show Review: Holding Absence (Gramercy Theater- New York City, February 14th 2024)

Holding Absence played Gramercy Theater in New York City on February 14th. Love (and crowd-surfers) were in the air. There was much speculation leading up to the show, if the concert would even happen. Vocalist of the band Lucas Woodland has been battling an illness which left his voice extremely raw. He had to cancel their Baltimore date in order to rest. The day of, there was anticipation and nervousness. Would they even play? If they did, would it sound good? Upon seeing the performance we can confidently state it was one of the most fun shows all year.  Lucas himself said during the show, “This morning I woke up and didn’t have my voice. I shouldn’t play a show but it’s fucking Valentine’s Day in New York City!” The band gave it their all and committed to their performance 100% despite the obstacles. Being at this show was the best way to spend the holiday in the tri-state area.

The main aspect we noticed was the overall energy and enthusiasm the band had on stage. They were electric. Lucas was jumping up through the air, kicking his feet, head-banging. If no one told us he was sick, we would not have guessed it on our own. Guitarist Scott Carey was playing complicated riffs while dancing and grooving to the rhythm. Ashley Green was furiously slamming away on the drums and never lost his intensity. Bass-wise, Ben Elliot also created a memorable performance. He had a clear and commanding stage presence. The band didn’t have a weak link. Despite it being a slightly abridged show, they removed any uncertainty we had by the end of the first song. 

The band played a career-spanning set. It was fantastic to hear tracks off their first album [self titled 2019] which is now half a decade old. I do wish we got to hear more of the new record. 2023’s The Noble Art of Self Destruction was a defining moment in the emo scene. Not only did it help break the band into the mainstream of rock more but it was also a refreshing genuine record. Through its 42-minute run-time there isn’t a single second that’s wasted. Holding Absence is getting better and honing their craft with each record. The only complaint I have of the set was I would have liked to hear more new material. 

It was also very clear the band did not take their success for granted. In the middle of the set Lucas grinned and said, “I didn’t even know if I would ever be in New York on holiday. Now I’m playing a show here!” Seeing the hoards of people at Gramercy all jumping in unison proved to us this band unlike no other. Their music resonates with people in such a profound way. Even though they have 1 million monthly listeners on spotify, it still feels like they’re on the verge of a breakthrough. 

It being Valentine’s Day in New York City, everyone was there with their significant other. It was beautiful to see so many happy couples choosing to spend their night embracing emo punk. The band even played a deep cut off their new record, “Honey Moon” in honor of the holiday. Couples were holding each other screaming the lyrics. Even single people all had nothing but euphoric smiles. It didn’t matter where you were in life or who you were with, the night just felt so wholesome. 

Overall, it was a fantastic concert. Holding Absence showed perseverance, talent, and a deep respect to their fans. They may have needed to cancel this show, but refused to. This showcases the kind of people they are. It’s not about the money, the fame, or any superficial reasons. They do it for the fans and the music. Another quote from the night is when Lucas asked the audience of people who were seeing Holding Absence for the first time, “I insist you come back when I can actually sing!” The show was 10/10; a truly stellar night. 

You can stream The Noble Art of Self Destruction here. Check out Holding Absence here for upcoming tour dates, news, and more. 

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