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Holly Golightly

LIVE REVIEW: Holly Golightly, Loppen, 24.11.2019

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holly golightly live at loppen copenhagen

“Cuddle in,” Holly Golightly says as she and her band take the stage at Loppen. People drift away from their tables and towards the stage and suddenly the room feels different. With dozens of albums and years as a performer behind her, no one is at this show by accident. This is a friendly audience that is ready to oblige.

“We’ve got a new setlist: Same songs different order,” she says. A chuckle goes around the room and Gollightly remarks, “It’s funny because it’s true.”

It will, indeed, be the running gag of the evening. The band will tease each other about what song is next, who actually starts the songs, who actually has decent enough vision to read the set lists. It’s also true that if you’ve seen Golightly at some point in the last decade, or listened to a live album, you’ve heard some version of this collection of songs: Of Golightly’s clipped voice, her ramshackle guitar, her line between Americana and blues with a little garage holdover.

It does make the set reasonably representative of her work, from her standard opener “Crow Jane” to “Satan is His Name” off last year’s Do the Get Along; even Brokeoffs’ track “Mule Skinner” makes its way in as a dedication to everyone who has to go to work on Monday morning. 

Beyond all the quips about the band’s lack of professionalism, there are moments that take you by surprise. Golightly never really fully shifted her punk snarl to a country twang; she always maintained an appealing roughness to her vocals. But for jazzy number “My Love Is,” with the band stripped back to just bass and percussion, her vocals completely smooth out to a croon. Watching her, it’s suddenly clear that she could push her voice to very different depths if she wanted to. She could abandon the blues, Americana, garage rock all together and remake herself in a different image. 

But then again, you don’t stick around in music this long without keeping a few tricks up your sleeve.

LIVE REVIEW: Holly Golightly, Lille Vega, 01.11.2016

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Musician Holly Golightly live in Copenhagen

Lille Vega is a nice venue: It’s a comfortable size, the sound is decent, and the décor is at the least completely inoffensive. According to Holly Golightly, the venue is also quite “grown up.” It’s hard to say exactly what she means by that — perhaps she’s never outgrown her scrappy punk years with Thee Headcoatees — but it’s a term she comes back to again and again.

It’s a positivity that comes in handy when the room is only about a third full. And it’s reflected back from the crowd; though blues and country-inspired rock songs aren’t the most obvious songs to dance to, people are dancing (or “jigging around,” as Holly prefers). But because there are so few people in the room, there’s plenty of space for it, and it’s nice to see couples busting out the moves they learned in that one dance class they took together when they first started dating.

At times the evening has the feeling of an elaborate pub gig, not least because Holly has spent most of the last 15 years subtly shifting through different, adjacent genres. And through the evening her songs traverse predominantly blues tracks into Americana and, on the stripped down “My Love Is,” a bossa nova-flecked jazz. Though Holly has long since stepped away from her noisy, garage rock beginnings, there i still a girlish, cheeky quality to her vocals, and she is adept at choosing styles that suit her voice.

And given that these styles are less raucous than her earliest projects, it’s a bit surprising when, late in the evening, she once again cites the grown-up nature of Vega and says,“Usually people are throwing things by now.” It’s possible that Copenhageners are especially polite, or it could be that the fight doesn’t go out of a performer just because she turns the volume down.

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