Holly Humberstone live at Melkweg, Amsterdam on February 14th 2024. Photo by Inês Vilalva.
Holly Humberstone live at Melkweg, Amsterdam on February 14th 2024. Photo by Inês Vilalva.

Holly Humberstone returns to Melkweg

Whatever your opinion is on Valentine’s Day, there are worse ways to spend it than an evening of introspective pop hits courtesy of Holly Humberstone. This romantic show followed her last performance at Melkweg just three months ago, but in a significantly smaller room. Considering how much she has achieved in four short years with a pandemic in the middle of it, it’s a beautiful milestone to reflect back on it all, which Holly was happy to do so with us.

First up was Medium Build, whose inoffensive recordings don’t prepare you for the wildcard live performance he gives. As he stood alone on stage with his ill-fitting sunglasses and electric guitar, it was amazing how big a sound he can create with his minimal guitar playing and deeply expressive vocal delivery. He plays each song as though its meaning is as significant now as it was when he first wrote the song. However the real highlight of his set came from the moments in between the songs, with some of the most unhinged and hilarious chat you’ll get from such a producer of such pleasant music. Everything he said felt improvised and in the moment, yet had better timing and more interesting delivery than most standup comedians. If he could find a way to be as interesting on his recordings as he is on stage.

Holly kicked off the night with the haunting Paint My Bedroom Black setting the tone for an intimate yet powerful performance. One by one, each band member came out on stage to add to the sound collage before Holly bounced up to the microphone to get things properly going. The setlist showcased a range of styles and emotions, from the vulnerability of The Walls Are Way Too Thin to the energetic Cocoon and the dreamy London Is Lonely. The show had something for everyone.

Holly’s latest album may not have the same instant appeal as some of her previous ones, but the new track Dive goes a long way to rectify that, showing that Holly has no plans to slow down any time soon. Holly belted out the chorus line with serious gusto, needing to take a moment to get her breath back afterwards.

The encore was a perfect cap to a strong setlist, with the choice of Room Service and Scarlett as the closing songs providing a perfect ending to the evening. Holly’s stage presence and engagement with the audience further highlighted her growth as an artist, and the love and energy exchanged between her and the fans were palpable.

Overall, Holly Humberstone’s show at Melkweg was a memorable and enchanting experience, showcasing her growth as an artist and leaving the audience with a lasting impression of her talent and authenticity. The combination of heartfelt lyrics, powerful vocals, and the intimate connection with the audience made it a Valentine’s Day to remember.