We Saw This: Holy Balm
Usually when a band from Sydney plays Melbourne no one really cares, unless it’s Circle Pit. Or, it turns out, Holy Balm. For an icy evening an impressive bunch of people turned up to see these guys at the Liberty Social. In the city. Since Holy Balm make weirdo dance music, I deduced that people felt like dancing. It was also the launch of their first album, It’s You, so maybe that had something to do with it.
Here’s how it was.
As I was busy drinking vodka sodas and eating baba ganoush, I missed Superstar. My boyfriend saw them though and informed me: “It’s the music you hear in a Daimaru waiting room. But sexier.”
I saw Superstar’s Esther recounting war stories afterwards. This is her saying “And then it hit me: we do sound like Phil Collins on Ketamine.”
Her bandmate Kieran said nothing but his eyes agreed. He was a bit bamboozled because he ordered a shiraz and the bartender just stared at him until he changed that to a Carlton draught.
Next up: Forces. One's got his round sunnies and Boy London on, the other is buttoned up like he's afraid of catching a cold. They spend the next fourty minutes wacking the electronic drum kit and doing their locked-knee dance moves. The crowd is in a frenzy.
Their set started out well. The light was pretty.
They brought their own smoke machine however. It blinded the room immediately, making my task of photographing them, and anyone else, almost impossible.
This is what I captured when I turned the flash off.
So I resigned myself to using the flash and working with the smoke.
It was all about wacky dancing.
This person was lulled into a trance/coma.
Most just kept dancing.
My photos kept getting weirder. This is supposed to be local heart-throb Geoffrey O’Connor deep-grooving, not the Elephant Man.
Some guys wore floral shirts and flowers in their hair.
Others wore cute jumpers that people did stupid things to behind their backs.
This guy kept staring at me instead of the band. I think he really wanted me to take his photo.
Some girls had blue hair.
Some had green. The pink thing is obviously over.
Some had black hair and dog collars.
Some had bowl cuts and looked like they were up to no good.
The smoked thinned but some people still looked a bit stunned. I don’t think this guy will ever recover.
Next up, the main event: Holy Balm. I had to claw my way to the front to try and get a photo. Their use of the smoke machine was a little more conservative. Emma sang and played stand-up drums, while the other two played keys and fiddled with knobs.
For Sydneysiders they wore good outfits.
I spent most of the set coveting her tights.
Then I went home and sucked on my asthma puffer.