I am one of those people that kills albums very quickly. I love a new album/song for about a week, bash the crap out of it and then need to move on for a while.
I usually won’t come back to it for at least six months (maybe even a year). But for some reason, that never happened with Holy Holy. I have somehow been able to strike just the right balance of listening to When The Storm Will Come at least once every two weeks since it was released. Not just a few of the songs either, the whole album from start to finish.
Maybe my history with Holy Holy has something to do with it…
It was around 3 years ago that I met Tim (half of the songwriting duo of Holy Holy) working as ‘gate-keeper’ of The Black Bear Lodge in Brisbane. I use the phrase gate-keeper because the first time I met him I was a budding photographer annoying venues all over Brisbane in order to get better at music photography. He was doing a majority of the promo for the venue so it was him I had to get through in order to photograph bands at the venue. It somehow came to be that he liked what I did and this opened the gate to countless gigs at Black Bear. In some ways I owe him a massive debt of gratitude. All of those hours spent capturing bands in the super dark room with random lighting taught so much about how to push my camera to the limits and capture bands in an intimate way.
Black Bear was also the first place I saw Holy Holy perform as a band. If my memory serves me correctly they were launching their single “Impossible Like You” to a smallish Black Bear crowd. They ended the set with the single sending fairly large shivers right up my spine. Something about the way the guys work their guitars that transports me to another place and this track in particular makes it possible. The track is not on the current album but I still find myself going back for a listen all the time. For some unknown reason it is usually after a few glasses of wine while editing the weekend’s shoots. It transports me back to that first gig at Black Bear and usually extends to playing out When The Storm Will Come well into the night.
I have photographed Holy Holy on four more occasions since that first night at Black Bear and they continue to astound me at every gig. The band are simply amazing live. The lyrics come across with perfect clarity and mix beautifully with Oscars purposeful and flued guitar licks and mind bending solo work. What sticks in my mind after a gig is how ‘real’ the band are. Usually a band, or front man, will need to engage with an audience and try to win them over with an outlandish performance or crazy antics. This is fine for a lot of bands but I believe with Holy Holy this idea is flipped on its head. It is the audience that has to force themselves into the band’s space feeling compelled to be part of the show in mind, body and spirit.
It has turned into a very intimate occasion photographing the band. Even at the last show at the Riverstage it felt like I was the only person there and they were playing just to me. It really helps me to feel the photographs and capture moments of the band lost in their craft. Photographs are not meant to be moments that are used to promote the way a band looks or feels to an audience. They are about capturing the emotion of the band and the music providing a memory of that feeling of emptiness of everything except for the music. Holy Holy are so easy to photograph because they are so lost in the music that they create and every note and every lyric is performed with heartfelt meaning and passion.
The Riverstage show highlighted the strength of the band to perform on any stage. Standing in the pit and then backstage above the crowd you could feel the connection and interest the band was creating. I see many more sold out venues in the future of this band and I hope I can be there capturing all of the action.
Who knows what is next for this great bunch of guys…but I am sure it is going to be something spectacular. Thanks for letting me be part of the history.