Holy Holy, Kwame, Clews @ The Gov, Adelaide 19/5/2023

Bursting onto the stage with CLEWS on backing vocals, HOLY HOLY open their set with Stand Where I’m Standing. ‘Adelaide!’ shrills Tim, and the capacity crowd cheer in response.

We’re at The Gov on a rainy Friday night. It’s the hottest ticket in town.

Having already witnessed CLEWS and Kwame perform outstanding sets, the bar is high for HOLY HOLY. Unsurprisingly, they don’t disappoint.

In their twelfth year as a duo, Tim Carroll and Oscar Dawson have built a huge following as HOLY HOLY. With four albums plus one EP under their belt, they also have a substantial discography to select from. Yet, they limit tonight’s show, and all those on their Messed Up Tour, to just over an hour of entertainment. It is disappointing we don’t get more because the simple fact is, they are brilliant live.

History from When the Storms Would Come (2015) is a classic we salivate over. The older HOLY HOLY sound is a delight among the newer poppier beats. These songs still hold strong today as much as they did when they were released.

Believe Anything and How You Been from the exceptional Hello My Beautiful World (2021) are luscious early-set pairings. They cut through the moodier sound of old with a refreshing burst of carefree danceability. They prepare us for the intensity of Frida, Sentimental and Monday, and That Message. The latter we are told has recently gone Gold, despite being released six years ago.
Maybe You Know and Faces from My Own Pool of Light (2019) are mid-set palette cleansers. The up-tempo whimsical air of each song generates sizable sing-and-dance-alongs.

We’re all having a blast by now. So, it’s the perfect time to drop a new song, Pretend to Be, off the band’s upcoming fifth studio album, Cellophane. I’m not going to lie, it has the makings of being another hit single.

The decision to seamlessly transition from Pretend to Be into The Aftergone and The Aftergone (Coda) is wonderful. Featuring Sydney sister duo CLEWS, who have been singing backing vocals on and off throughout the night, The Aftergone chronicle is a joyous foray into pop sentiments.

The collaborations continue as Kwame returns to the stage for Messed Up, HOLY HOLY’s current single and the moniker for this tour. Messed Up is a departure from the typical HOLY HOLY sound. With floating synth, drum’n’bass beats, and Kwame’s lyrics and vocals, it is left of centre…but, wow, live is spectacular! It is an excellent collab and a definite highlight of the night.

Banger True Lovers concludes the main set. People are now atop others’ shoulders. Everyone is highly spirited. After a short interlude, HOLY HOLY is back with CLEWS for an acoustic version of Elevator. They conclude with Teach Me About Dying.

As we exodus The Gov back into the chilly, rainy night, still singing, ‘Teach me about dying/ So I can learn how to live’, there is no doubt we are richer in spirit for sharing that experience.

HOLY HOLY always deliver live. We can’t wait until they return to showcase the new offerings from their upcoming album.

Live Review By Anita Kertes

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