I’m not quite sure how Holly Golightly & the Broke-offs ended up in my iTunes library1. Like Ryan Bingham, it took me a few albums to warm to her very particular brand of bluesy, gothic Americana, but by the time this year’s No Help Coming came out, I was ready to give in. It’s a gorgeous, weird, desperately lonely kind of album, and I absolutely adore it.
The Broke-offs is, at least this tour, a misnomer in pluralization — it’s just Holly and her charming accent and her long-time touring partner and collaborator, drummer, guitarist and all-around straight man Lawyer Dave, and while she sometimes tours with a full band, there’s something plaintive and empty in just the right way about the duo for this album. Dave is an unbelievable guitarist (and, hell, drummer, too, since he drums while they play, as well; I can’t do half of what he did even if I wasn’t doing the other half of it) and Holly has a huge, startling voice that resonated beautifully in the hollow concrete of the 506, plus she’s not exactly a slouch on the guitar herself, what with her time slinging garage rock in Thee Headcoatees. It was a bigger crowd than I expected, which was fantastic, and they were all the kind of cheerful rockabilly hipsters that I don’t find super irritating in the Thrill, all of them super into Holly’s music and her genuinely hilarious banter with Dave and the evening in general.
I shot in the front for a while, standing next to a recently relocated from the Midwest couple who talked punk and rockabilly with me before the set, and then I retreated to the back and put my head against the wall and just let the drums and Holly’s voice lull me into a sense of being okay. I had kind of a rough weekend, and while I can guarantee that the set was great and I enjoyed every minute of it, it was also nice to see someone play on Saturday that I didn’t have to care about with all my being. The only people I knew in the venue were the 506 staff; I didn’t have to make networking small talk with touring managers or people I know or ask anyone for anything except Hoppie for another beer. I could just stand there and listen, for once, and sometimes that’s a relief.
New Town Drunks were the local open, and I dug their set for what it was; all their songs kind of started to blur together for me, by the end of it, but I’d catch them again as an open and give them a shot on a night when I wasn’t kind of rattling around aimlessly and without the ability to focus. My moods should not influence whether or not I dig a band, frankly.
1: that’s totally a lie. if you want to call me on it, use the keywords “may 2008 and that time i bought a laptop with a 250gb harddrive and then succumbed to an obsessive compulsive head-injury-related desire to own all the music ever released, or, no, i have no idea why i have a complete jacques brel discography, please stop asking because it’s becoming embarrassing.” you could follow it with “possibly that weirdly complete collection of french pop music is related to that time you were obsessed with zach condon for three months, aggie, and maybe you should rethink your life priorities.”