Holly Humberstone – Tuning Fork: July 31, 2022

Holly Humberstone is a British singer-songwriter from England who has gracefully made her way all the way over to NZ to share her charm with a bunch of Kiwi fans at the Tuning Fork.

RnB Kiwi pop artist Paige opened the night with a cruisey set of originals. The Tuning Fork is pretty packed for a Sunday night and people seem to be inching closer to the stage as the break between Paige and Holly Humberstone continues, hoping to make their way to the front.

Holly HumberstoneHolly appears on stage with a blue electric guitar, looking pretty chuffed to see the crowd in front of her. It is just her on stage but she does well at holding the attention of the audience, not that it seemed difficult as it was clear how adoring her fans were of her music and her general personality.

Her voice is husky and worn but it suits her indie folk pop style and although it comes through raspy in her speaking tone it blends nicely into her sound when she sings.

The first song, Vanilla, starts off with layered looped harmonies which develops itself into a calming and beautiful beginning of many of her songs throughout her set including Please Don’t Leave Just Yet .

Front half of the audience is already singing along in the first chorus of Vanilla, clearly knowing the songs prior and it’s easy to tell which ones are crowd favourites.

Delicate endings contrast with upbeat sections and a tracked drum beat kicks in in the second half of the song keeping the song driving forward and she switches between palm muting and strumming her guitar, a nice way of varying the density in her music.

“Thanks so much for coming this is fucking cool” she exclaims

It’s not so often that fans are so adoring and vocal at the Tuning Fork, but it’s clear to see how much the audience really love her, they aren’t afraid to be vocal and show a keenness to be involved in the energy on stage.

Simple guitar licks ease into the background of Overkill and a stripped back drum beat fill out the space of this song. The singer songwriter elements of her style shines through in the way she varies the dynamics throughout her tracks which keep them engaging.

Overkill blends into Please Don’t Leave Just Yet, a super vibey upbeat track, with a sick modulator arpeggio and a crunchy drum beat. This is probably her most popular song and it definitely stands out as being one of her strongest originals. She wrote this track with Matthew Healy from The 1975 and the influence is notable and an ear catching aspect of the song.

She doesn’t move much on stage, which usually takes away from a performance to a track but it somehow works for her as she is still present in the way she holds herself physically and emotionally, moving and bouncing a little bit and interacting with the audience in between songs.

“I’m really a huge fan of lord of the rings so I’m so gassed to be here” she interludes between songs.

Her set is broken up nicely with personal anecdotes about the meanings behind her songs, including Deep End, the first song she ever wrote for her sister who was going through a tough time and London Is Lonely, a song she wrote when moving away from home for the first time.

“I’m an awkward girl, if you can’t tell, I find it hard to have conversations and stuff” she explains to the audience. However, it seems to be that she has found a way of having those conversations through her music and this is received with open arms.

Jemilah Ross-Hayes