Home Live Review Live Review: Holly Humberstone w/ Carol Ades @ 9:30 Club — 5/7/24

Live Review: Holly Humberstone w/ Carol Ades @ 9:30 Club — 5/7/24

Live Review: Holly Humberstone w/ Carol Ades @ 9:30 Club — 5/7/24
Holly Humberstone performs at 9:30 Club on May 7, 2024. (Photo by Carolin Harvey)

British singer-songwriter Holly Humberstone recently played a packed sold-out show at the 9:30 Club. The performance marked the second stop on her tour The Holly Humberstone Show.

The concert was originally scheduled to play the 450-cap room The Atlantis, but the demand for tickets was so high that it was upgraded to the 9:30 Club.

Previously, Humberstone opened for Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour Tour at The Anthem in May 2022, but this is her first headline show in Washington, DC.

I first became familiar with Holly Humberstone’s music in 2020 from listening to Sirius XM’s channel, Alt Nation, which featured her single “Falling Asleep at the Wheel.” The station would later play “The Walls Are Way Too Thin” in heavy rotation as well. I knew that once concerts were back in full swing, she would be one to look out for.

The club filled up quickly on May 7. The house music consisted of “sad girl music” favorites like “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” by Caroline Polachek, “Circle the Drain” by Soccer Mommy, and “Garden Song” by Phoebe Bridgers.

The show opened with a performance from Carol Ades, who had a captivating bubbly aura. Her first song was her debut single, “I Can’t Wait to Be British,” a painfully relatable tune of self-loathing and the lamentations of the lack of an English accent. A notable lyric from the song: “Yeah, I know I’m talented, but not as good as Phoebe Bridgers.” Ades performed several unreleased songs including her final song “Dreams,” which she described as being “really gay,” much to the audience’s pleasure.

Watch the official lyric video for “I Can’t Wait to Be British” by Carol Ades on YouTube:

Holly Humberstone came out swinging with her song “Paint My Bedroom Black” the title track of her 2023 album. She emulated an edgier version of a “Fearless-era” Taylor Swift in the way she held herself and her guitar. The long curly hair also felt reminiscent of a younger Taylor. She played “Into My Room” next, which features MUNA on the record, and then the hit “The Walls Are Way Too Thin.”

Watch the official music video for “The Walls Are Way Too Thin” by Holly Humberstone on YouTube:

When Humberstone performed her debut single “Deep End,” she reminisced on writing the song during the Covid-19 lockdown in the UK, and how surreal it felt to be playing it live far away from home. In the opening line to “Deep End” she says, “Throw me in the deep end, I’m ready now to swim. The air in my lungs may not last very long, but I’m in.”

“Deep End” sets a precedent of water as metaphors in her songwriting. “Dive” off of her most recent EP, work in progress contains the line, “I’ve made enough mistakes to fill up the oceans, babe, and when it rains it pours.” Similarly, in “Easy Tiger,” off of the same EP, she sings “Well, I spent the whole of last week underwater. On occasion I would surface from my room.” It’s fascinating to see a common theme in her songwriting from the first released song up to the most recent tracks.

The energy in the venue was great; there were pockets of screams here and there, but the crowd mostly hung onto her every word. Holly Humberstone will return to the DMV on Sept. 29 to play a set at All Things Go Music Festival.

Catch Holly Humberstone on tour near you! 

Here are some photos of Carole Ades opening Holly Humberstone at 9:30 Club on May 7, 2024. All pictures copyright and courtesy Carolin Harvey.

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Here are some photos of Holly Humberstone headlining 9:30 Club on May 7, 2024. All pictures copyright and courtesy Carolin Harvey.

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