@ Jack Rabbit Slim’s, WA
14/07/17 (Live Review)
Holy Holy are making big statements carving out a reputation as one of the most electrifying Australian bands around. With a debut album under their belt and a solid touring schedule, the band made their next move with their 2016 sophomore album Paint earning high praise. Live, the pull of the two striking musicians; with Timothy Carroll’s soothing steadfast voice and the alluring guitar work of Oscar Dawson created a terrene reality you never wanted to leave.
With Slim’s sold out Machine Age, and The Money War had a healthy crowd to play to. The Money War having recently been supporting a number of noteworthy bands have a lot to give but on this night the band seemed distracted. Machine Age aka Adrian Mauro got a second outing as he eventually came back during Holy Holy’s set to provide a little horn action.
Holy Holy hasn’t depart too much from their previous offerings, yet there is a real sense of confidence and purpose in Paint’s songs. This is immediately obvious as Carroll, sporting a no.2, arrived on stage along with the band sans guitar to kick everything off with Gilded Age and The Message. Bouncing lightly on his feet he often jettisoned his guitar throughout the set to focus solely on his mic.
Between songs like Shadows and Amateurs which sounded like they could have been inspired by a lost demo from a 80s new wave band, the crowd seemed very quiet. However it was errant to think this was because of disinterest, during If I Were You drummer Ryan Strathie gave a blistering almost 2 minute drum solo that by song’s end had the crowd so impressed you’d think they’d have to be picked up from the floor. Following on, You Can’t Call For Love Like A Dog was a stunner of a song that harked back to 70s rock with its progressive build up, Carroll’s soaring vocals, and Dawson – long haired and lit from behind like a denim-clad, guitar messiah giving a blazing solo leaving the audience calling for more.
And whilst they have seemed to finesse writing lyrical songs within an open sonic soundscape as demonstrated by 2015’s History, the new material is upbeat even with many of the songs having a dichotomy of introspective lyrics weaved through inquisitive rhythm and melodies. Willow Tree even had a hand-clap and a solo by keyboardist and producer Matt Redlich proving that Holy Holy are more than just the two lads out front. With Darwinism, a song rooted in evolution and Elevator it was very hard pressed not to dance, especially when it looked like the guys on stage were having a cracker of a time as they went uniformly from foot-to-foot. Even a rendition of Beyonce’s Hold Up worked as a version that was arguably more glorious than the original arrangement.
The mood simmered down for House Of Cards, a song which Carroll had said was composed in 2014 about Australia’s treatment of refugees but sadly remains relevant today. For encore Carroll and Dawson then delivered a stripped back, semi-acoustic version of Sentimental And Monday which gave the audience the chance to show their appreciation by singing along before the rest of the band returned onstage to provide the wall of sound for the song’s end.
If a picture paints a thousands words, then there is something truly special to see in Holy Holy’s dynamic performances. It’s layered and thoughtful without being melodramatic and whilst it sounds great on record, to see the band live is like seeing a crack of lightning across a stormy night sky, a moment in time that is not so easily forgotten.
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