Gen Z darling Holly Humberstone made her Aotearoa debut at a sold-out Tuning Fork gig Sunday 31st July. To say it was a success is an understatement, the night was simply a victory.
Humberstone once told the New York Times that she wants her lyrics to be ones “that someone would get tattooed on their skin for life”. Having just recently gone through the end of a long-term relationship, her second EP The Walls Are Way Too Thin has served as a Bible over the past two months for me. So yeah, give me the money and I’ll tattoo some of ‘Overkill’ on my arm. But love it or not, as soon as Holly appeared on that stage it became a spiritual experience for everyone.
The breathlessness of Humberstone’s melodies live feels like a hug. Though there were 300 people inside the Tuning Fork on that fateful night, it felt like Humberstone was a best friend moving back and forth in each corner of your room, spilling all her secrets and waiting for your advice. This feeling was heightened in certain moments, such as her endearing confession of how “awkward” she finds talking. Or perhaps more intimately, when she revealed how her own sister’s mental health struggles inspired the track ‘Deep End.’
‘Haunted House’ was another beautifully vulnerable moment of the show. The breathlessness of Holly’s voice seemed to wrap the crowd together into one. There was no dance crew or big theatrics needed. Just simple talent. And looking across the crowd for classics like ‘Overkill’, you could sense the shared connection of Humberstone’s music weaving through each person like a friendship bracelet, or perhaps less romantically, a Spotify subscription. But hey, it’s artists like Miss Holly Humberstone who remind us why indie-pop is a supreme genre.
Of course, there was also great boogieing done. As soon as the opening chords of ‘The Walls Are Way Too Thin’ came on, the crowd put on its own show (there were definitely some cheesy dance moves on my end) for her. ‘Falling Asleep At The Wheel’ was another cheer-inducer, the audience’s spirits being lifted higher with each springy-synth.
‘Scarlett’, a fan favourite from the EP is simply e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g live. The crowd’s energy peaked at each hit of the chorus, the screaming of “ooh you left me waiting on a heartbreak” louder at every turn. The audience knew every word. During ‘Scarlett’, it became clear that Humberstone is apart of a new round of female artists who will hold the same impact on this generation as Taylor Swift’s release of Fearless did to an older one. And might I just add, Scarlett felt particularly cinematic to witness with my best friend’s arms around me. Romanticise your life, right?
Throughout the show, Humberstone kept talking about how sad her music is. It however evoked the opposite on that cold winter’s night. Tāmaki Makaurau had been hit with sweltering winds and rain that week, yet fans left Holly’s show with their hearts full of warmth.
You know that feeling when you leave a gig, and there’s only one thing certain about the week ahead… It’s that your days will be spent relistening to every song from the artist, searching for an inch of what you felt seeing them live. That’s exactly what myself and many others have been doing for the past week. So, thank you Holly Humberstone, we’ll give you citizenship any day.