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Gig Review: The Holidays, June 20 @ Alhambra Lounge

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on June 21, 2014

Sydney lads The Holidays have been meandering up and down the East Coast over the past month or so, performing a string of gigs on the back of the release of their latest single, Tongue Talk. I caught the penultimate show of their tour in Brisbane last night.

Kicking off the night’s proceedings was Thief, an electronic musician who has been steadily gathering support after the release of his debut EP late last year, and the relative success of two effervescent singles, Broken Boy and Closer. Predictably, it was these two tunes that evoked the best response from the disappointingly small crowd that had assembled. Nevertheless, Thief and his band produced a solid, engaging set that began with a synth-heavy reworking of Outkast’s Ms Jackson, and also featured a superb cover of Justin Timberlake’s Cry Me a River.

The Holidays have made an impressive impact on Australian music this year, a feat that can be attributed to their unique and sonically accomplished second album, Real Feel. Last night the band wasted no time in diving in to their set, with frontman Simon Jones strumming the opening chords of All Time High to a bourgeoning crowd. What followed was a mix of old and new: the delightful, tropical vibes of 2010’s Post Paradise, alongside more mature, but equally enjoyable, songs from Real Feel. Highlights included Tongue Talk and Broken Bones, and the set also featured a rare rendition of The Preatures’ Is This How You Feel?, complete with a seamlessly integrated verse from Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing.

Often the crowd dictates the atmosphere of a performance, and that is exactly what happened last night. The unbalanced ratio of rowdy, drunken onlookers to those more focused on the music, and with substantially less beer spilt down their fronts, meant that the audience was splintered. There was not so much one supportive and appreciative crowd as there were numerous small groups, each responding differently to the music, if at all. Consequently, The Holidays didn’t receive anything like the support and applause I felt they deserved, especially given the quality of their set. Seemingly undeterred, however, the boys wrapped things up with Golden Sky, the response to which was comparatively rapturous.

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