REVIEW: Holy Holy, Cambridge Hotel, November 17

AXE MAN: Oscar Dawson was in sensational form for Holy Holy at the Cambridge Hotel. Picture: Sol Took This
AXE MAN: Oscar Dawson was in sensational form for Holy Holy at the Cambridge Hotel. Picture: Sol Took This

HOLY Holy are one of those rare contemporary bands whose appeal can cross multiple generations.

There’s the warm indie folk vocals of Tim Carroll and splashes of synths, which appeal to your modern hipsters, and then there’s lead guitarist Oscar Dawson, whose constant riffing and blistering solos could warm the heart of the most jaded classic rock fan.

Both young and old fans sauntered into the Cambridge Hotel last week for Holy Holy’s show, which surprisingly only attracted a half-filled room compared to the heaving crowd seen at the venue last January. Perhaps the Thursday night scheduling was to blame. Certainly Holy Holy’s last performance in Newcastle was worthy of a repeat dose. 

In between shows Holy Holy have been busily recording their forthcoming second album Paint. The cover, Dawson revealed on stage, was designed by Newcastle impressionist artist James Drinkwater.

The purpose of the latest tour was to promote new single Darwinism, which was kept under wraps in anticipation until the final song of the main set. Given the crowd’s enthusiastic singalong, Holy Holy are onto another winner.

Earlier, other new tracks like the synth-heavy Elevator and Shadow were unveiled. Next to tracks from the band’s excellent debut When The Storms Would Come, the new material stacked up comfortably.

Much of the older material were given minor reworkings. If I Were You featured a thumping drum solo and Impossible Like You carried off with an extended guitar solo to end. 

Throughout Dawson and Carroll shared the stage as the band’s dual frontmen. Dawson emerged the star of the performance given his innovative fretwork. Carroll, vocally sounded weak at times, especially during the band’s more raucous numbers. 

Earlier, support act I Know Leopard delivered an exceptional set that ranged from synth pop to darker psychedelica. Jenny McCullagh was transfixing as she swapped between keys and violin and provided sweet backing vocals for energetic singer Luke O'Loughlin.


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