A Live Experience with Holy Holy, Olympia and The Franklin Electric at The Corner Hotel, Melbourne 29th January 2016

jameslondon1_blue_blurHoly Holy will never forget 2015. Since the release of their accomplished and ambitious debut When The Storms Would Come, an album full of beautiful melodies, meticulous played guitar by Oscar Dawson layered with the rich vocal tones of singer Timothy Carroll (not to mention some exceptional alt-country song writing abilities), the band are riding high. Tonight they play a “humbled” sold-out show at The Corner Hotel with the equally talented Melbourne band Olympia and Montreal’s The Franklin Electric.

You probably know by now, that I always get to gigs early enough to see the support artists, the reason? Well, it is threefold. Firstly, for gratitude and respect to the promoters who provide TWL with media access to do this (thank you On The Map PR), second, to write a few words about the support artists, and thirdly, to see if I can catch out the “next big thing”, so I can then say “well I saw them when they supported this. I did that with Coldplay, but that is a whole other story. Tonight, I will achieve 2 out 3 of my ambitions for here we have a line-up that plays more like a miniature festival than a headline with their traditional supports.

tfe-2015-new-crop-colorI prepared for a late night with steadily paced drinks and three bands to experience and “study”. The Franklin Electric entertain the already hyped and filing crowd, like old crooners, they are clearly no strangers to a following this side of the world. The band draw and eager audience and looking around you may easily be mistaken thinking that they were the “headline act”, with fans mouthing and mumbling along to each track. To digress for a bit, I couldn’t help but notice that tonight’s punters were made up of many loved-up couples, standing close, brushing arms, laughing into the air while sipping their cool drinks. Its date night for us white colour hipsters!

The Franklin Electric are finishing up a 30 (or thereabouts) tour of Australia and tonight you can see why they made the effort to visit our shores, they are effortlessly tight, professional, honest and know how to craft catchy melodic tunes. Lead singer, Jon Matte, plays piano and trumpet, and any band who has a trumpet gets my vote and Jon certainly knows how to play it providing much need “umph” and melody to many of their songs. These guys are far from rock n’roll, a band that your dad would like, a reminder of Mumford and Sons style and projection. It’s by no means a bad thing, they just play non-offensive tunes. Tonight they treated their fans to new material and for a new listener, as was I, the newer ones sounded a little stronger, so I look forward to hearing their follow up release, of which no doubt will be played on your more friendly commercial, alternative partial radio stations who have a yearly Top 100.

73f10eb15c48a50d1a0b835bf6ca92e6Olympia are from Melbourne, a three piece led by the powerful and charming voice of Olivia Bartley, who takes to the stage wearing a glittery blue number with SIA-like peroxide bobbed hair and a perfectly coloured fender guitar in a matching shade of blue; she looks great. To define their genre is challenging, there are moments of pop, then moments of avant-garde rock. It was a shame that I just couldn’t make out her lyrics that made it frustrating at times as I could catch moments of great lyric writing. That aside, she has an extraordinary set of pipes, reminding me of St. Vincent and Martha Wainwright. Bartley introduces some of her songs with stories of inspiration, but again it’s hard to make out what she is saying, part due to the sweet couples giggling to one another and part due to some drunk buffoon the other side of the venue sounding like he were talking through a megaphone. I got the gist of a guy from the 80s called Larry Waters who died tragically in LA. Either way, it makes way for a great song and reminder that yes, indeed, Melbourne has so much artistry that I have yet to explore.

1130pm and my feet are starting to ache, it’s been a long day. I rest myself against the exit door and let the wall recently painted black wall do the work. With red velvet curtains drawn, Holy Holy seduce the ears of a packed crowd while the curtains draw and the crowd go a little crazy. Instantly you get the feeling that you are seeing a “band” and a bloody good one at that. Individually each musician is outstanding, at first thinking there were only four; before peering behind some others head to notice the keyboardist, sitting in the corner, offering sounds that fill each track perfectly.

holy holyHoly Holy are predominately Oscar and Timothy, but you have to give credit to the drummer who is incredibly talented and takes each song to a whole new rhythmic and complex level. Sometimes the drum rolls can get a bit over the top but if you got that much talent, I guess you want to use it right?

The band were held up by a problematic amp which then had Timothy leave the stage while the band played out some theme tune, something to keep the punters busy and as strange as it was, it still had fans dancing to it. With amplifiers sorted Holy Holy played through a fair portion of their excellent debut album, it was pitch perfect both in voice and Oscar’s incredible guitar playing. His style, swagger and full set of curly locks that covered his face, reminded me of Bernard Butler from Suede, in my opinion you don’t get a better compliment then that. Oscar offered each song the intricate and considered guitar licks that almost harmonise and respond to Timothy’s excellent live voice.

Tonight they played some new tracks that sounded equally, if not stronger than their debut material. Giving credit to the fact that it was our first listen, they were instantly recognisable, melodic and incredibly powerful. Elevator, is bound to be a hit single, it sounds timeless and has me thinking that these lads are destined for bigger things this year. It sounded a lot like The War On Drugs with its driving beat and soaring vocals, hoping that this is the direction that the band will take. Crowd pleaser and hit single A Heroine has the crowd peaking with some guy choosing to get on his mates shoulders, easy now!! Again, the song sounded full, complete and pitch perfect. Finishing with House of Cards they band modestly exit the stage, knowing that in a minute or 2 they will be back for an encore.

Returning to the stage, to an audience of rapture and dating couples now clinging on to one another, the two lads, gave a respectful nod to David Bowie, with a quick rendition of Starman, a nice touch, before nailing out one last track You Cannot Call For Love Like A Dog. Again, I go into thought, confirming that we have some great Australian bands that deserve more than they get, it is bands like Holy Holy that should be opening sport events, gracing all those big events that simulcast to the world, not these “has-been” bands that we really don’t give a shit about anymore. Why can’t us Australian’s take a grip off our past musical loves and embrace the future of new music? Hmmm…

A night full of great Australian music and perhaps a few new loves to boot and one converting music lover (me) not only thinking that Australian music is in fact pretty good but also realising that band merchandise had become so expensive, $40 for a tank top!?!? Steep!!

Thanks to On The Map PR