Holy Holy @ the Zoo, 22nd August

Fresh from a European jaunt and their album still sizzling on the shelf, Holy Holy have come to Brisbane midway through their extensive Australian tour.  I have been waiting to see them live since their EP, and the time has finally come for me to see Timothy Carroll let loose his enchanting lyrics and Oscar Dawson shred some killer solos.

As I climb the stairs to the Zoo, I can hear the chatting and stomping reduce to a murmur as openers Big Bad Echo begin.  I go to grab a beer but my ears are drawn straight to the stage.  Vocalist Mick Reddy’s voice wails with the fierceness of post-punk, it echoes through the amps like a mix between the Birthday Party and early Modest Mouse.  The band play some stellar songs that captivate the audience but it’s when the raspy groans of the saxophone blare through the mic that I think I might have a new favourite band.

Second to the stage is Melbourne based multi-instrumentalist, Mark Zito, better known as Fractures.  Backed up with a drummer and a guitarist, Fractures is able to reproduce his chilled electronic vibes on stage.  His vocals are solid but I can’t distinguish the lyrics with the heavily echoed effects layered on his mic.  He has a guitar in hand, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what he’s playing, as the synth and beats are too overpowering.  For me, Fractures’ slow grooves don’t keep the same level of intensity that the opening band delivered, and it’s a step back in hype.

The Zoo is packed now, yet the eager pool players insist on sneaking through for their perfect shot.  The crowd seems to be a mix of old-school music lovers and young Splendour-goers; the latter still haven’t figured out to take off their floral shirt and bucket cap.

As the members of Holy Holy walk on stage, the crowd shake the walls of the Zoo with their applause.  I get a glimpse of them as I try to peer around André the Giant standing in front of me.  They start off with a solid sound – their track History – and Carroll’s vocals are crisp as Dawson’s guitar shines on stage.  They move to Sentimental and Monday, one of my favourites from their album, the lush sound mirrored beautifully on stage.  After Wanderer, Carroll rushes offstage to fix a broken strong, so the band do some quick thinking and out of nowhere begin the theme to Terminator 2.  It’s perfectly played by all, but it’s Dawson’s guitar work that gleams; it’s magical. I half expect Arnie to step on stage.

The band close with You Cannot Call for Love like a Dog.  The crowd jump to the beat and begin singing along with Carroll.  I’m sure everyone else is the same as my eyes are permanently fixed on Dawson as he solos the shit out of his guitar.  His fingers move with a graceful ease, he transcends time and space, like Hendrix or Page.

The night is topped off with Holy Holy’s encore, a cover of Neil Young’s Southern Man.  Here the band pay homage to a clear influence, Carroll’s folksy vocals marrying perfectly with Dawson’s ability to shred.  Holy Holy certainly put on a show that no one will be forgetting any time soon.

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