Monday, October 22, 2007

Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs at the Echo!

Holly Golightly +

Lawyer Dave +

Foot-Friendly Drum Getup =

Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs!


Holly Golightly's cult status in America seems to have become a more sizeable club only after the mainstream exposure earned from a guest spot, thanks to Billy Childish-arch nemesis Jack White (who penned liner notes to her 2003 album and brought her on for the closing number of Elephant). Holly spent the early part of the 1990s as a member of girl group Thee Headcoatees, under the watchful eye of garage god Childish, where neither she nor her band mates played the instruments with which they posed on their album covers. Well into her solo career, she now plays her own guitar and writes her own songs (save for the occasional Kinks cover, a few of which she did with the Headcoatees). But she's not the most spectacular guitarist – she mostly plays a somewhat limited rhythm guitar on her records – and has spent most of her solo career toning down the retro garage appeal of her past with smooth pop gems and country ballads, '60s-style, of course, which I imagine are her efforts at shaking off any reputation that songs like the Childish-penned “Come into My Mouth” might have provided.

What about her, then, is so brilliant? Holly Golightly is not the most talented singer, the most original songwriter or the most experienced musician. But she's massively appealing and addicting, the dry-humored woman you'd want as a best friend or secret crush, whether you're male or female, regardless of your musical preferences. Next to Billy Childish, she seemed to have a quiet presence – and hell, who wouldn't look insignificant next to Childish, let alone his moustache? But this year saw Holly pair up with Lawyer Dave, otherwise known as the Brokeoffs (beyond me how a single man becomes a plural object), who now forms one half of Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs. Like Billy Childish, Holly Golightly's gone from British garage rocker to an imitator of traditional American folk, but unlike Billy Childish, American musician Dave has a somewhat dry, quiet, restricted sense of humor that allows Holly to snag the spotlight her loyal fans already imagine hanging over her.

On October 8, the pair made a tour stop in Los Angeles to show off the songs from their March album, You Can't Buy a Gun When You're Crying. The two actually make an ideal pair, both sharp and witty, playfully condescending toward British and American trends alike – as it turns out, Holly's not afraid to poke at British Goths with the same skepticism as the hideous Crocs and “orange skin” found around Los Angeles, though she excused the Goths if only because of the 23-hour-a-day darkness in England. 

They made ideal musical counterparts for one another: Holly doing all the lead vocals and rhythm guitar, with Dave a sort of one-man band, playing a set of kick drums in his socks and switching off between two guitars, one of which was a cheap replacement Epiphone, apparently bought at Guitar Center earlier in the day. “Devil Do” garnered the best response from the audience, occurring earlier in the set when energy was still high, and before Holly'd complained several times of the show's last minute scheduling changes, reminding us that we'd all be out at 10:00 and in bed before 11. She also treated us to a couple of songs from previous solo albums, her cover of “Black Night,” boosted by Dave's fantastic slide guitar, and “Won't Go Out,” which brought the audience's energy back up toward set's end. Sadly, the time restriction set by the Echo's Part-Time Punks dance fest meant no encore, and there was a wall of a crowd around the merch table, which held live bootlegs Holly and Dave had made of themselves to compensate for money lost on canceled tour dates. But we obsessed fans had finally gotten a glimpse of the Holly Golightly we so enthusiastically place on a pedestal.

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