It wasn’t that long ago that we were reviewing UK based Holly Humberstone’s first EP, Falling Asleep at The Wheel—August 2020 to be precise. However, in less than two years, Humberstone’s career has enjoyed an impressive run of success. She has released a second EP, dropped several stand-alone singles, uploaded a collection of attention-grabbing music videos, and took home a Rising Artist honor at last December’s Brit Awards. She also embarked on her first full US tour starting in support of with rising sensation, girl in red, and currently traveling with superstar, Olivia Rodrigo. Fortunately for Nashville, both tours had stops in Music City and East of 8th was lucky enough to grab a spot at the sold out show at the Brooklyn Bowl. (A few lucky people will catch the sold out Holly Humberstone/Olivia Rodrigo show at The Opry House on May 10th as well.)
You could tell the night was going to be magical long before the music started. Most of us are used to the crowd at sold out shows filtering in throughout the opener and filling the venue just in time for the headliner. However, this show’s fanbases were having none of that. A line had formed outside of Brooklyn Bowl hours before the show to claim the most coveted spots near the stage. Impressively, the audience was already filling the floor within a few minutes of the doors opening.
With a sea of people stretching back from the stage, the lights dimmed, leaving the room mixed with shadows competing with a hazy blue glow. The energized crowd greeted Humberstone with a roar. Without a band in support, the task of playing the cavernous Brooklyn Bowl could certainly be daunting for many artists. Although Humberstone would later confess to some nerves, she certainly didn’t show them. Instead, she seized on the opportunity a minimal set up provided—her own guitar and keys took the lead and rhythmic support came from an electronic beatmaker. From her opener, “Overkill,” to her closer, “The Walls Are Way Too Thin,” she held the packed room’s full attention by focusing the night on her gift for pouring emotional inflection into her vocals.
Moving through a quick-paced setlist, Humberstone did a remarkable job balancing the night’s mood. She allowed us to mull over her more brooding works like “Deep End,” and “Please Don’t Leave Just Yet,” but countered them with up-tempo versions of “Scarlett,” her now-released, “Sleep Tight,” and the fan-favorite, “Falling Asleep at the Wheel.” Before performing her other recently released single, “London is Lonely,” Humberstone shared that the song is about her feelings as she embarked on her first major tour away from home. The reminder that this was her first tour was another indicator of how far she has come in such a short time.
Holly Humberstone used her time at Nashville’s Brooklyn Bowl well. As on her recorded music, everything about Humberstone’s performance felt organic and intimately honest. She made sure to touch on several of the songs we knew while leaving us hungry for more. Fortunately, with an album already in the works, we won’t have to wait too long to see how Humberstone forges forward with what’s sure to be an emotive collection of addictive pop tracks.