Photo: Holly Humberstone via Instagram
Holly Humberstone was one of my top 5 most listened to artists in 2022, so having the opportunity to see her live for the first time was an unforgettable experience. The British artist was set to perform in Los Angeles last November, but she had to cancel the morning of the show due to the flu. After this unfortunate cancelation, SoCal fans were ecstatic to find out that she had rescheduled her concert for August 11th. The moment I found out, I scrambled to find out how to get pre-sale again and immediately bought tickets without knowing who I was going with and or if I was busy that day. I was willing to sacrifice anything to go see one of my favorite artists for the first time. In the weeks leading up to the show, my anticipation continued to build, and the payoff was worth the wait. Humberstone commanded the stage with such class, professionalism, and humility that only strengthen my respect and love for her as an artist and as a person.
Humberstone kicked off the set with her single, “The Walls Are Way Too Thin.” As an alternative-indie artist with very mellow, almost acoustic songs, I was curious to see how these songs would play out live. Due to the majority of her songs containing similar vibes, with very few being considered “upbeat” and even less being happy, I was not sure what the vibe was going to be. Humberstone and her band completely blew me away, song after song. They provided additional instrumentation throughout a handful of the tracks that maintained the integrity of the songs, while simultaneously hyping up the crowd. The most memorable change was during her song, “Friendly Fire.” The studio version of the track is led by an acoustic guitar that provides a very delicate, chill element to the production. The instrumentation stays very steady throughout the song. However, during the live performance, the song completely switches in the second verse with the electric guitar and the drums taking control, making the mellow track a rock anthem. This addition is a unique way to keep the audience engaged and allow them to dance along to the music.
After ending the standard set with “Sleep Tight,” everyone in the crowd began chanting the singer’s name. Begging for an encore, every single person in the audience was waiting for her to sing her fan-favorite, “Scarlett.” As my personal favorite track from Humberstone, it was not until this show that I discovered that it was a universally beloved song from her entire fanbase. The night prior to the concert, she had posted on her social media asking her fans to make friendship bracelets. If I had not already been in the area for a different concert that night, I would have made more. I did, however, already make myself one to wear, bearing the song’s title. While in line for the show, I heard multiple people make comments such as, “she better sing ‘Scarlett’” and “that’s my song.’” Even the night prior, I was told by someone else who was not attending Humberstone’s show that her partner is “obsessed” with “Scarlett.” I have been to more than one hundred concerts in the ten years since I have started attending live shows, including big named artists with massive fanbases, but I have never seen one song be collectively everyone’s favorite track. When Humberstone returned to stage to sing this song as the encore, everyone in the crowd went wild. The clever lyricism of the track, along with the catchy instrumentation, is what made this song my favorite. Screaming the lyrics of the second verse with hundreds of other fans was a cathartic experience that I will remember forever.
Not only was Humberstone a phenomenal performer whose mesmerizing vocals sound identical live as they are recorded, the singer emits a positive energy that radiates through the crowd. The singer showed a level of humility and appreciation that stood with both my best friend and me, and I am sure everyone else in the crowd. My friend decided to go with me to the show, despite not knowing a single word to every song. Due to not only Humberstone’s remarkable talent, but wholesome personality, my best friend left the show as a newfound fan. After every single song, Humberstone uttered the word “sick,” as natural punctuation to each track. It was as if she was not only proud that she completely nailed each performance with no mistakes, but that she was in complete awe that the crowd was cheering her on so loudly that everyone down Hollywood Boulevard could hear us. Along with her humble personality, the singer clearly has a sense of compassion and empathy that I have truly never seen at any show. It being a hot August day, the audience had to wait outside in the summer sun for the doors to open. While it was much cooler inside, with the number of hot bodies dancing around, it was quickly warm in the theatre. Noticing this, Humberstone continued to ask the audience if they were alright and if anyone needed anything. About halfway through the set, she stopped the show to ask her team and the venue to hand out water bottles to the crowd. For free. Humberstone did not waste a second ensuring that her fans were safe and hydrated. This was something that I will never forget and will always cherish. After Humberstone inevitably shoots to superstar status earned through her incredible talent and down-to-earth personality, I will still be there on the sidelines rooting for her and promoting her generous and loving spirit.
Holly Humberstone is releasing her debut full-length album, Paint My Bedroom Black, on October 13, 2023. Follow her on all social media to keep updated on the project and any upcoming shows and festival appearances. And keep an eye out on our socials for my personal review of the album the week after release!
Photo: Holly Humberstone via Constatine//Spence
Written By Karlee Skipper
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