Holly Humberstone: Her Melodic Memoirs in Review
Lizzie Harley reviews the intimate gig
Brudenell Social Club hosted the amazing Holly Humberstone for an intimate gig on Wednesday the
27th of October. Chuff Media gave us the opportunity to see Holly return to the venue where only a couple of years ago she had performed as a supporting act. On Wednesday, she took to the stage as the headline.
Holly has risen to fame amassing well over 100 million streams, performing on the highly acclaimed
Late Late Show with James Corden and Jimmy Kimmel Live, gaining recognition as #2 on BBC Sound
of 2021 and Apple Music's Up Next Artist, and sold out her first four headlining gigs at Omeara in
London. Accomplishing these achievements and so much more within the space of only a year just
shows the rapidity of her success - which on Wednesday night, she proved us isn't stopping there!
The audience at Brudenell Social Club was given a special performance of two unreleased EPs, 'Friendly Fire' and 'Thursday' set for upcoming release. Holly delivered these new singles in her true authenticity of heart and certainly did not stray from her distinct warm acoustic sound she has so uniquely mastered. 'Friendly Fire&' communicated to us the conflict of coming to an end of a relationship as Holly so personally divulged the pain she suffered having to hurt someone she cared for deeply but ultimately had to let go. The lyric: "if I burn for you, it's a friendly fire" resonated
perfectly - not only the fiery love shared in the relationship, but the paradox of love's ability to injure the one you care for and must ultimately part with. The depth of her lyrics did not stop there as by offering us the personal history attached to each of her songs, we could not help but emotionally invest ourselves in the stories she so lyrically told to us.
Her songs 'Scarlett' and 'Haunted House' were especially personal to Holly as she illustrated to us how she wrote each song for specific people and moments in her life. Before her performance of 'Scarlett' she announced to us how it was about her best friend, the 'ginger' girl in the audience with us that evening! Holly explained how she wrote it for her after a breakup that her best friend had gone through with a boy: Holly said she thought he was only an 'average boy'. By assuming the perspective of her friend in the song, Holly immerses herself in the misery her friend suffered. In her way of song, she resonates her emotional understanding by telling her she is listening, and she is
there. Holly's understanding of the hardship it took for her friend to accept she was left 'waiting on a heartbreak' highlights her dedication to support those she loves around her and her efforts to apply melodic beauty to a pain that can now be relieved in song by so many. The song's more upbeat and major key tone makes the topic of her friend's pain more cheerful in her attempts to transform her misery into this melody of celebration: Scarlett can now, as she did in the audience that night, sing her pain away.
Her song 'Haunted House' is scripted in a similar way with its telling of the story of her family having to leave their crumbling family home. With the song's poignant saying goodbye to the place of her and her family's flourishing lives, she metaphorically indicates the pain of saying goodbye to her youth as she matures into adulthood. Because she describes it as the 'fortress' keeping them all together, the song almost serves as a tribute to the home which housed the foundations of her and her three sisters' lives and will always hold the 'ghosts' of the memories established there. The mellow and soft atmosphere of this piece only echoed the intensity of Holly's emotional attachment to her childhood. Its perhaps simpler tune's purpose was to reflect the simpler time of her youth she so longs to hold onto - which she only can in song.
The rest of her set continued to perform the emotional development of her musical career when we were finally left apprehensive with her premature leaving from the stage without playing her biggest hit. Leaving us in suspense, we were unsure of her return when she re-emerged from behind the backdrop to give us the performance of ‘The Walls Are Way Too Thin’ we were all hoping for. Holly concluded the evening on such a high from this song which fused the beauty of her acoustic with an accelerated wonky electronic twist. The remaining darkness in the song however, sustained the emotional gravity of her lyrics she displayed throughout her performance of the night. Holly’s artistic
melodies ultimately never stray away from the passion to celebrate the beauty she finds in love’s potential for pain; her music is and continues to be unapologetically her.
Words and Photos by Lizzie Harley