Black Bear Lodge is reminiscent of a 1920’s speakeasy, clad with velvet décor, tasseled lamps and walls adorned with quaint countryside paintings. A few “pardon me”s and sneaky dodges brought me to the front of the stage. Consequently, arriving halfway through a sold out gig left me to sit on the floor in the midst of gentlemanly Movember masterpieces – I was not at all disappointed.
My lateness served me well as Holy Holy had started their set, relaxed and killing it. The multiple broken guitar strings on vocalist Timothy Carrol’s guitar gave me an indication of the intense performance to come.
On tour Holy Holy (originally consisting of singer songwriter Timothy Carroll and guitarist/producer Oscar Dawson) becomes a five piece, joined by Hannah Macklin on keys, Ryan Strathie on drums, and Graham Ritchie on bass.
Ryan opens Southern drum heavy, securing everyone’s attention as Oscar drew on folk style riffs. Tim’s vocals mounted throughout the song, ending with graceful band-heavy harmonies. A massive fan of densely layered music, I was in my element.
Now, the basic law of music making states there must be some form of unity in timing throughout the performance. However, this is too often taken for granted. The exceptional pace of these musicians must be commended; throughout the staggered stops and starts of crowd favourite Impossible Like You, keyboardist Hannah kept a keen eye on the pace of her comrades that ensured impeccable synchronization. This song is enchanting – sonorous vocals and engrossed instrumentals come together for literal goosebump moments.
The tune that followed was Pretty. “This is one of Oscars favourites” noted Tim.
Starting with a bellowing drum introduction, this song honoured its namesake perfectly. Holy Holy fixated on whimsical compositions that crescendoed through the roof, with dark bassy undertones and a galloping drum that brought it back down to earth.
After delivering their farewells and gratitude with thanks, the lads and lass left the stage only to be met with the customary encore call. Running out of the backroom and beckoning his bandmates, Tim jumped on the stage as the ensemble launched into an electronic rock version of The Terminator theme song that was influenced by Graham on bass (no doubt satisfying the desires of the 13 year old inside him).
They finished with Constitution, a song of cascading guitar lines and synthetic church organ sounds. Adorned with Tim and Oscar’s adept songwriting, it was a graceful end to the evening.
This quintet brings genres of rock, folk and indie, to the scene, giving Holy Holy an enigmatic depth. Combined, they pulled off a beautiful display of refined technique, novel music making and a flair for brilliant lyricism; do your musical soul a favour and saddle on up to their next gig.