Live Review: Holy Holy

Gabriel Filippa

Merlyn: Visiting the Corner Hotel is like taking a sojourn in time. Ex-girlfriends; shitty share houses; Japanese curries. For years I lived in Richmond feeling like I was at the heart of it all.  

Gabe: It was nice visiting you there. You had that attractive housemate. Trish Barresi? Richmond was my first taste of the city. Commuting from Ballarat to hand out resumes.

Merlyn: Anyone familiar with the Corner and its rooftop views must get the same impression that we did – that the constant criss-crossing of trains foregrounding the city is a necessary precursor to any gig.

Gabe: You rocked up looking like you were going to crack Watergate. Brown leather jacket. Woolen vest. Broad-rimmed hate. I was waiting upstairs looking like your frat boy date in my blue varsity jacket and wax through my hair. Any masquerade of affluence was dispelled at the cloakroom though.

Merlyn: Well they wanted to charge me $2 to use it. I’d already phoned earlier and someone said it was free.

Gabe: The bartender said something like “fine dude, save two bucks”.

Merlyn: What did you think of the support act – Olympus?

Gabe: Enchanting. White hair. Red lipstick. Big teeth. She wore that long blue dress that seemed to reflect the numerous lights and stardust from whatever galaxy she belonged. You took a nice shot for my bedroom wall.

Merlyn: I was struck by their arrangement on stage. Minimal but sophisticated. Chelsea McIver used two microphones and a handful of synthesizers that she used for impact rather than trying to flood the set.

Gabe: She carried the set with her vocals. The other instruments felt like carefully orchestrated accompaniments.

Merlyn: I was reminded very much of P.J Harvey – the way her voice cut through everything in its pitch and melody.

Gabe: She seemed to draw on a lot of Greek mythology too: "I've been dreaming of Atlantis - we look up - 3 atmospheres down - drunk on what colour remains"

Merlyn: All the while we looked up at her, drunk on whatever colours remained on our atmosphere.

Gabe: I saw Chelsea at the bar after the gig. I sure as hell wasn’t going to approach her though. Me. That sweaty figure of earth. Wax now running down my face.

Merlyn: What did you think of Holy Holy?

Gabe: Watching Oscar Dawson with his long curly hair and the golden light and smoke working through the stage it wasn’t hard to convince yourself that this might really be Jesus Christ.

Merlyn: Maybe these two were channeling something of a greater, spiritual experience? Timothy Carroll’s shoulder seemed to convulse with its own energy. 

Gabe: Maybe this was a religious experience disguised as rock n’ roll?

Merlyn: And Tim’s amplifier broke. Like divine intervention.

Gabe: Oh yeah, so Oscar started playing the theme song to Terminator while Tim went to work fixing it. Actually, the Terminator theme was kind of appropriate because on the TV in the next room, Milos Raonic, the Canadian tennis player with the huge serve, injured himself. Up until then, this guy was killing Andy Murray and sort of swaggering across the tennis court with long arms and legs and acting so methodically nonchalant he looked like a robot on valium.

Merlyn: Like he’d just gotten out of bed because he’s mum had egg and bacon waiting on the table.

Gabe: Holy Holy played well though. With an infectious kind of fervor.

Merlyn: The crowd was interesting too. Speaking in hushed tones between songs. Almost reverential. I remember standing at the back of the room . . . you know how sometimes your vision blurs when you haven’t blinked for a long time? I feel like I kind of went through that watching them from afar.

Gabe: Their music definitely had an odyssean feel. They reminded me of War on Drugs in that way.

Merlyn: As a band they seemed really at home with the crowd.

Gabe: Like priests with electric guitars.

Merlyn: It was a shame we missed the encore.

Gabe: Yeah, but it flooded the streets of Richmond as we were leaving. Bathing it in a kind of spiritual afterglow.

Merlyn: A nostalgia. Maybe we should move back?

Gabe: But then we hit the Richmond station, remember. Someone gave me the finger for no reason. And it stunk with all those portable toilets. There were all these signs: “slippery when wet”.

Merlyn: Bathing the streets in another kind of afterglow . . .

Gabriel Filippa is studying his Master of Journalism. He spends most of his time sitting on his arse watching films or playing video games. Sometimes, he gets up to write about something that has annoyed him.