A smoky stage with moody red backlighting, richly mixed audio, and authentically sticky floors welcomed audiences to Holy Holy’s headline show at Sydney’s The Metro on Saturday night for their Faces national tour.

A steady crowd had gathered early into the night to see Gold Coast rising-star San Mei bring her powerful voice and electrifying rhythms to the stage. Her commanding stage presence was justified by her talent. You know the support is good when the guy next to you says, “This makes me miss playing music.” His funky striped shirt can have an honourable mention too.

With just enough time between sets to grab a fresh drink of choice, Sydney-based CLEWS brought their sister act to an eagerly awaiting audience. The crowd was smitten with Lily and Grace strumming on fairy-floss pastel guitars in shades of green and pink – and also a shout out to their guitarist for bringing back a snazzy bolo tie. The visual quirks were backed up by their skillful musicianship and melting melodies. Their latest release Crushed, although only a few days old, had the crowd singing along with the 90’s spice-infused rock ballad.

Courtesy of the fierce all-female support line up (very cool) the crowd was well and truly warmed up and ready for the slick vocals from Tim Carroll, and the juicy guitar solos from Oscar Dawson – the two blokes who are Holy Holy.

A familiar riff rang out across the packed room and in a moment we were all singing That Message along with the duo. The refined looseness of their indie-rock melodies rolled seamlessly into Willow Tree then Sentimental and Monday.  The setlist was a tasteful balance between tracks from their debut album, When the Storms Would Come, and last year’s release, Paint.

Holy Holy’s songs seem to have a lasting power, which reflects their skill in creating a unique and identifiable sound of nostalgic guitar and relevant lyrics. These forever-faves were interspersed with new music including the not-yet-released Teach Me About Dying and Faces. The latter was sung as a duet with CLEWS – Oscar’s “new f***ing favourite band!” And rightly so.

Much to my personal excitement, the pair then treated the audience to their Like A Version cover of Beyonce’s Hold Up. Tbh, transforming a pop-R&B track into a successful rock cover is pretty heckin’ cool.

There was no way the band could leave the stage before playing True Lovers, and there was equally no way the audience was going to leave until Holy Holy came back for an encore.

Our wish was granted and Holy Holy returned to play two more songs, History then Elevator – and not without throwing in a cheeky riff to the Led Zeppelin classic, Stairway to Heaven, too. No one left the gig sans ringing in their ears and a croaky voice. The way it should be.

Holy Holy Faces Tour

Thursday 22 November, Solbar, Sunshine Coast QLD
Friday 23 November, Miami Marketta, Gold Coast QLD
Saturday 24 November, The Triffid, Brisbane QLD
Sunday 25 November, The Triffid, Brisbane QLD
Thursday 29 November, Mojo’s, Fremantle WA
Friday 30 November, The Rosemount Hotel, Perth WA
Saturday 1 December, Yalls Summer Fest, Yallingup WA
Thursday 6 December, The Gov, Adelaide SA
Friday 7 December, 170 Russell, Melbourne VIC