Review: Lots Holloway live at Slim Jims
Our reviewer was blown away by the singer-songwriter’s stripped back performance.
I rather like watching singers perform naked. Not in the sense of wearing no clothes - that would be ridiculous - but performing an acoustic set with nothing but a microphone and an acoustic guitar: no band, no backing singers and no horrible autotune gizmos.
Lots Holloway’s two hour set was a revelation, a winning combination of covers and original tracks delivered with a worldly-wise maturity belying Holloway’s tender twenty-something years. From her hauntingly alternative version of Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child of Mine to The Mamas and Papas’ hippie anthem California Dreamin’ (with harmonies helpfully provided by an increasingly engaged audience), Holloway’s set was at once uplifting and thought provoking. Uplifting because, hey, that’s what music can do if it’s done right, and thought-provoking because lazy karaoke covers were eschewed in favour of wonderfully creative interpretations… in fact her version of the White Stripes’ classic Seven Nation Army drew audible gasps from the audience as recognition, swiftly followed by admiration, dawned.
Holloway proves that young women who want to make it in the music business do not need to dress like soft porn stars to get attention. Rocking up in a vest, long shorts and Doc Martens, this was an unspoken (and possibly unintentional) “fuck you” to the largely middle aged, male record company execs who dress their protégées in ways which would appear mildly underdressed at a Magaluf hen party.
But this gig wasn't just about the covers. The set was interspersed with slick original compositions. Holloway’s debut single, World’s on Fire, was sensitively - and sensibly - withdrawn from the playlist in recognition of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, yet we were treated to a range of skilfully penned and classily performed numbers including Would I?, Stay a Little Longer, Chinchilla and - my personal favourite - The Love Here is Free.
In the cut-throat world that is the music industry, where acts are signed and discarded at the whim of accountants, it’s impossible to say whether we’ll one day be talking of Holloway in the same breath as Adele or Ed Sheeran but, boy, if there’s any justice we should be. Don’t believe me? Get Googling, and - even better - get yourself down to the Radio DIVA Women’s Stage at Pride in London where Lots is part of a fantastic line up.
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