Photography: Chris Cohen
Saturday night saw Aussie indie rock band Holy Holy close their My Own Pool of Light Tour at Melbourne’s Forum Theatre. Being their biggest run of headline shows to date spanning across 16 nights nationwide it was fitting to end this magnificent ride at the Forum.
As Carla Geneve and Baby Blue warmed the venue it allowed time to scan the crowd. Holy Holy have an incredible reach. There was a blend of both young and old displaying how timeless the duo has become. The mix was super friendly and wholesome. I met a lovely family from Bendigo, all decked out in Holy Holy merch, who drove down for the night and were making the long trip home after the show! Hearing the dedication of these 3 suggested what a milestone occasion this was for the boys and the Holy Holy community.
Beginning with some classic tracks from their second LP Paint, the authenticity of the band shone. With the Holy Holy pair Timothy Carroll and Oscar Dawson holding the front of the stage with musicians Ryan Strathie (drums) and Graham Ritchie (bass) supporting behind they relied on the presence they themselves bring. Both Carroll and Dawson certainly know how to engage and work a crowd with Carroll passionately smashing out the lyrics and Dawson taking centre stage on occasion with his trademark guitar solos.
It didn’t take long for the pair to showcase their new material starting with the hit opener on the new record Maybe You Know. Goosebumps spread through the theatre as the crowd took over from Carroll bringing the band to a complete standstill with repetitive renditions of ‘I don’t wanna die, I don’t wanna die wondering why’ before the final build and crescendo. This chilling moment set the theme for the night of a mindset for those at the venue to remain present in the moment and live their lives.
With every feature from My Own Pool of Light the reception became evermore tingling. With 3 LPs in the catalogue now the band took a significant leap with this new record choosing to not stick to a formula and go for something different. Being self-produced you could hear and see live how much freedom they had making this album. All songs on the tracklist have something to say, complimenting but separating themselves from each other, which makes it refreshing to listen to.
With such deep subject matter on each song you could only imagine the volume of messages the two have received from fans. When describing the new album Carroll explained that they wanted to make music that was exciting and interesting and provoked feeling on the listener. This was clearly done with the frontman having to take a moment in the show to express their gratitude and appreciation of the overwhelming influx of messages.
Despite this evolution as a band it warmed the heart to see they have not disconnected themselves from the past. Old fan favourite Sentimental and Monday set a beautiful scene with the rotating mirror ball lights decorating the Roman-esque Forum walls and night sky. A sea of shoulders spanned the floor for True Lovers. As with many from the Holy Holy collection you can understand the reach this song has as it can easily slot in as a coming of age track in just about any decade. Live it received the clear nod of a classic tune with the crowd singing the instruments as loud as the lyrics.
In a dazzling set the highlight for me came during the encore. The roar of the theatre and rumbling of the floor gave a massive kudos to whoever firmly installed the chandelier on the ceiling and the set we had so far just witnessed. Hearing that as a band would send a surreal internal secretion of endorphins through the body.
Choosing to end their set with Teach Me About Dying was the perfect sign off. A song that encapsulates the vibe of Holy Holy through telling the story of life’s impermanence. This understanding amongst those in the theatre that we will all at some point die sent the dancefloor on fire with everyone losing themselves in this passionate anthem.
Through their dramatic songs and live stage performances Holy Holy are making Australian music proud. They have the epic ability to manoeuvre seamlessly through jubilancy and melancholy which is no doubt a major reason why they connect deeply with many audiences. This year has seen a clear progression for the band as they found liberty in their music. Growing their fanbase by the minute their next lap around the country with Falls Festival over the New Year period couldn’t come any sooner.