Review: Indie pop starlet Holly Humberstone bares her soul in emotional homecoming

Indie pop starlet Holly Humberstone immersed the crowd in a dreamlike experience of introspect and teenage angst on a cold night in the Midlands.
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Nearing the end of her tour, Leicester marked one of the closing dates for her This Feels Like The Truman Show Tour.

And being the penultimate show of the European leg of the tour, it truly had the emotional weight that locked the audience in a trance of Holly's stage presence.

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She kicked off her beautiful but sometimes harrowing set with the new album's namesake Paint My Bedroom Black, a song lost to ethereal melody, where each touring band member came on before Holly to build up the track before, she, herself emerged, to bring the song into full swing.

Holly Humberstone bared her soul in an emotional show a stone's throw away from where she grew up.Holly Humberstone bared her soul in an emotional show a stone's throw away from where she grew up.
Holly Humberstone bared her soul in an emotional show a stone's throw away from where she grew up.

The British singer-songwriter kept the tempo high, and the lyrics lost in a feeling of emotional resonance, as pieces like Into Your Room and The Walls Are Way Too Thin were passionately performed with her delicate delivery of each song.

Personal favourite Overkill, a song drenched in social anxiety and doubt, was the fourth track to be delivered to the O2 Academy audience – and this was her first headline appearance within the venue that's only a stone’s throw away from where she once lived.

Between tracks it allowed her to open up and speak about the tour and songs, delving into this intimate connection that truly personalises the live experience into a captivating trance of sweet-sounding melodies and distressingly realised lyrics.

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The Grantham born artist then slowed down the set for Kissing in Swimming Pools, a bittersweet anthem of young romance, buried in a blanket of poignant lyricism.

Holly then picked the set up again with her latest release Dive and before kicking off, she made mention of the fact she keeps most of her demos, stating that these are lost versions of her older self and has compiled a few of the tracks into an eagerly awaited EP titled Work In Progress due to release March 15.

From her latest track to her oldest track, she then performed Deep End a song about a family member's struggling mental health and being unsure how to help them through it.

London is Lonely followed on, keeping the fearful and isolated view on the world clear as day.

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She stated before the song, it was difficult making the move to London as a student, feeling deserted in one of the worlds most populated cities, but the experience allowed her to write this song and many others during that time.

Notably, her most streamed song Falling Asleep at The Wheel was given the reception it deserved as the crowd who had already been singing word for word, recited this track louder than the speakers blaring the song back at them.

Holly then delved into the meaning behind her next track about distance and missing her sister who moved to Japan.

She spoke about how her sisters have always been together and now it feels harder than ever to be a part of her life due to her being so far away. Elvis Impersonators was wrapped in a sentiment of honesty and performed flawlessly.

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The initial set was finished with heartbreak anthem Ghost Me, a track more frequented with recent social norms and toxic messaging habits of being left unheard and unseen. It's a song drenched in emotional depth and an unforgivingly brutal yet real depiction of our now tragic societal norm.

Holly and her band then left the stage as a studio outtake of her played referencing a scene from SpongeBob.

They then returned for the two-set song encore, returning to the stage with the first of the two Friendly Fire, a slow burn track that then picks up into a burning chorus of two minds as she picks apart about a broken relationship she had during lockdown. The track woven with pain, is really about Holly putting herself through it, just to not hurt the feelings of her partner at the time.

She then thanked the Leicester crowd for turning out and finished on the perfect set closer Scarlett, a more upbeat song yet still very much Humberstone's lyrics as it put to an end what was a bittersweetly enclosed daze of a night on the penultimate show of the tour.

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