Live Review: Holy Holy + Queen P – Forum, Melbourne (11.02.21)

9:30pm on a Thursday night and the Forum had a long line queuing around the side of Hozier Lane. Everyone was waiting to get in to see Holy Holy and their opening act, Queen P. There was extra tension in the queue: for many of us, it was the first time seeing an artist play live in over a year. Even the fact that it was a late-night show didn’t discourage people – everyone was excited to get back into the swing of things, and upon entry, it seemed the show was close to sold out.

As it was also my first gig in over a year, I was curious to see how they’d arrange the Forum to be in line with restrictions. It was a seated gig, but aside from the insanely luxurious booths at the venue, there wasn’t any extra seating. To solve that problem, the Forum had placed lines of chairs on the dance floor. Upon entry, an Usher would show you to your seat, making the entire process easy to follow.

Then, at 9:45pm, the magic happened: Queen P, an African-Australian rapper, went on stage. Bold, engaging and fun, she shined on stage. With backing dancers and an overall high energy performance that got the crowd dancing, it’s safe to say that everything, from the texture of her voice to her personality, was a success. “Giddy” and “Queen with Colour” were especially appreciated by the audience and set a high bar for the rest of the night.

Naturally, Holy Holy delivered. They opened with their well-loved “Faces” and followed up with fan-favourites such as “That Message”, “Frida” and “You Cannot Call for Love Like A Dog”. Following in Queen P’s footsteps, they delivered an exciting and soaring performance. Even with the seating in place, audience participation was high. Gig-goers were standing, dancing, and getting into the experience. They’ve mastered the pairing of the lighting to the experience too: flashing purples, greens and reds depending on the choice of song, and even occasionally launching the Forum into complete darkness after the drop of a strong beat. What stands out the most is how Holy Holy manages to do this whilst still allowing the strength of their music to stay true, not needing to rely on lights and tricks to deliver a great show.

There’s no doubt that Holy Holy has fine-tuned their performance. Timothy Carroll, the vocalist, delivered smooth and consistent vocals through the gig, consistently hitting, and holding notes. His other half, Oscar Dawson, provided an enchanting and dynamic guitar performance, capturing the audience’s attention (and hearts) with every guitar solo. Best of all, their music is ever-evolving, which was clearly visible during the gig. Not only did they deliver an amazing rendition of “Green Lights” by Lorde, but they also brought Queen P back on stage to play their pandemic-based collab “Port Rd”. It was great seeing Holy Holy move in a creative, new direction, mixing rap with smooth, sultry vocals.

Of course, the gig wouldn’t have been complete without “Sentimental and Monday” and “True Lovers”, two sensational choices to end a great night.

FIVE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

If you’d like to catch them on the rest of their tour, or simply follow their journey, click HERE.

Daniela Koulikov

At the age of three, Daniela Koulikov picked up a pen, and hasn’t put it down since. She loves live music, interviewing artists and reviewing events in Melbourne. When she's not out and about in the live music scene, she's walking her dog or taking her friends with her on a hike.

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