Gig Review: Holly Humberstone at Rock City

Words: Emily Campbell
Photos: Max Harries
Wednesday 07 December 2022
reading time: min, words

Holly Humberstone served up a sublime fourteen song set to her home crowd at Rock City...


Rock City was the last venue on indie pop sensation Holly Humberstone’s Sleep Tight tour and for her, it was the best night of the entire run, and for fans the best night of their week.

Holly grew up just half an hour outside of Nottingham and regularly visited the venue in her teens, so for her this was a moment to reflect on just how far she had come in just two years since the start of her music career.

Holly began the set with the popular title song from her EP released back in 2021, The Walls Are Way Too Thin. After the band vamped the main melodic theme, Holly filled Rock City with energy and passion and her impressive tone within her upper vocal range was shown off in the chorus.

Holly had a noteworthy stage presence from the start; she was confident in her performance and seemed to be at home on the stage. This enthusiasm only continued throughout the concert with her actively making the audience feel involved.


In Vanilla she directed the mic towards the crowd, between songs she told the crowd the quirky and heartfelt inspirations behind the lyrics, and she frequently responded to fans shouts of support, in one instance taking a be real for a fan on the front row.

London Is Lonely is the first piece of music that Holly released this year and when she performed the song, she was spotlighted within the darkness with white beam lights shining down upon her. This isolated her from the rest of the band visually portraying the feeling of loneliness depicted within the lyrics.

The song’s instrumental was stripped back with Holly’s piano skills showcased. The light instrumental gave it an air of vulnerability compared to the heavier textures created by the three guitars and drums in songs like Overkill and Sleep Tight.


Holly is one of the most genuine down to earth musicians I’ve seen perform. She was amazed by the amount of support she received through the concert, which just made the crowd connect with her more.

This was seen clearly when she played her most recent release Can You Afford To Lose Me? in a live setting for the first time. Holly told fans it was one of the many new tracks she had recorded recently, and also disclosed that she had begun working on her debut album, which left the crowd excited for her next release of new music.

The second half of the concert featured a duet of Holly’s very first release in 2020, Deep End. The song began by her accompanying herself with guitar and then towards the middle of the song her support act American musician, Adam Melchor joined.


Adam gave the song another level of depth with his mellow harmonies. The duet demonstrated why Adam was a perfect support act for Holly with his smooth yet rich vocal tone. This was a well suited interim to the concert and the style of duet harked back to her impeccable duet with Sam Fender last year.

After Holly finished her main set, I had a suspicion she would make a reappearance with her most streamed song Scarlett. It was evident that fans in the crowd were hoping for the same with their persistent shouting for Scarlett.

Of course, Holly returned to the stage and the iconic vibrant melody began. The stage was lit up in red hues to reflect the song’s title and fans danced and sang, savouring every beat of the last song from an evening of young musical talent at its best.

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