Holy Holy + San Mei + Clews : Live review | Miami Marketta | 23 November 2018

Marketta was pumping. As we walked in around 6.30pm or so, having paid a quick visit to Mudgeeraba’s Summertime Sessions just prior, the tables were filling. Benny D Williams was setting up on the outdoor stage and every food outlet was spruiking their unique cuisine, the aroma of many nations culinary delights wafting throughout the venue. Delicious.

San Mei hit the main stage in a self-professed “dynamic duo” incarnation, as punters were still filling their bellies and ordering their fave gins in the fancy new bar. The crowd started small but ‘Until You Feel Good’ beckoned them in, building the numbers. Eliza and Tex and the other Delusionals were spotted front row, enjoying a night off supporting their stable mates, the Gold Coast musicians all having both shared the production oversight of Holy Holy’s Oscar Dawson. San Mei’s heavy synth pop tunes, backed by a drumtrack on this occasion rather than the four-piece San Mei experience, were met with approval from the audience, although we couldn’t help but think that the full band would have been preferred by the many, had they known it could be offered.

Cramming in a quick feed during the intermission, we noted Clews were louder and a great deal more direct. Having missed them at the recent BIGSOUND showcases, we weren’t sure what to expect but frankly, the sister act blew our minds. Lush harmonies, reminiscent of the best country folk vocal stylings, layered over indie rock tunes impressed us mightily. ‘I Cut My Teeth’, a yet-to-be-released ditty, is a sure hit and no doubt this band has a great future ahead. Later, during a quick post-headline act chat, the Clews girls were positively friendly and delightful amongst the Gold Coast crowd, clearly excited about 2019 when they’ll be releasing a number of new tracks to add to their current two, ‘Museum’ and ‘Crushed’, now on rotation at Triple J. Keep an eye out and definitely check out their live show if you have a chance.

‘You Cannot Call for Love Like a Dog’ opened Holy Holy’s set, as the Marketta’s food hall emptied into the main concert venue. The lights and smoke machine kicked in along with a few well known hits, getting the crowd immediately into the show. A mid-song technical hitch with the bass was sorted as Tim drank from his red wine bottle sans glass. He was outstanding on stage – reminiscent of a gospel singer – leading a compelling group clap to ‘Willow Tree’. A new song about safety was met with a little anxious cheer. Evidently we all want the drinking water to be safe, right? Isn’t it safe? The philosophical propositions of Holy Holy song lyrics were nevertheless met with signs of approval, despite the implied warning.

Clews were invited to perform the vox hook for ‘Faces’, and delivered magnificently to enthusiastic applause and lifted voices. That song was my musical favourite for the set. All was perfect at that moment of pub choir collaboration backing the musical proficiency of Messrs Dawson and Carroll.

At just short of a dozen tracks the set came to an unfortunate end and the crowd would have none of it, imploring the band to return. And return they did, with Oscar confessing “We were always gonna play another song…” and Tim gently lamenting the warmth of the Queensland weather. Clews joined the band again for ‘History’ and then ‘Elevator’ closed the set poignantly, as quite a number of couples considered the song an appropriate moment to reflect on their own expectations of romantic joy and the risk of heartbreak.

It was another cracking gig for Holy Holy, who seem to grow their audience every time they visit the Gold Coast; Marketta the perfect venue for this special event, bursting at the seams. The gentlemen spent at least an hour signing mercy and chatting after the concert, working their guts out off stage as much as they did on stage. With talent and work ethic like that it’s no surprise their crowds love them. 

IMAGES (c) Fish Films


You Cannot Call for Love Like a Dog
That Message
Willow Tree
A New Song about Safety
Sentimental and Monday
Gilded Age
Faces (with Clews)
Teach Me About Dying
Hold Up (Beyonce cover)
True Lovers
History (with Clews)


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