True to form, the crowd at last Friday’s Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs show at The Grey Eagle, wore cowboy boots. That’s just how it’s done when going to hear one of the baddest garage-rockabilly duos in the business.
True to form, Holly — who doesn’t seem very uptight about doing things how they’re done — wore sneakers. The twosome claimed to be rusty when they took the stage (not so: They opened with a fierce rendition of the Piedmont Blues song “Crow Jane”). They claimed they hadn’t been practicing much. Also untrue, but Holly and her one-man-backing-band Lawyer Dave (on guitar, vocals and a couple of kick drums) do create this casual atmosphere, like this is their front porch and you just happened to wander past.
In a way, that is what’s going on. Holly (originally from the U.K.) and Dave (from Texas) are based in the countryside outside of Athens, Ga., and their songs are often inspired by real life. The sideshow thrill of “Burn O’Junk Pile,” with its slinky beat, was inspired by an annoying neighbor who, said Dave, “has already started to mow.” The same neighbor who called the cops on Holly and Dave’s chickens.
“Get Out of My House,” a gritty stomp-blues number underscoring Holly’s girlish voice, pokes fun at house guests. When it comes to songwriting, everything is fair game. And while some of the darker offerings (the witty-yet-dangerous “My 45,” for example) are more likely based in fiction than truth, Holly and Dave do seem to find humor in the mundane.
Not that their lives seem to be terribly mundane. A pair of songs were introduced as “the song that got us kicked out of Salt Lake City” and “the song that’s going to get us kicked out of Salt Lake City again.” The first, “Ain’t Nobody Gonna’ Love me Like the Devil Do,” showcases the couple’s style. Dave provides the structure of the song — its teeth, its menace, its bone-rattling thump and mournful hollow-body guitar — while Holly’s vocal, at turns eerie and unaffected, seals it to the subconscious.
The new song, called “Salt Lake City,” might have earned the duo a return visit to that devil-hating locale, but it’s not likely to be adopted by the Chamber of Commerce. Roadhouse guitars and honky-tonk swagger are matched with an easy beat. “Why you want go into Salt Lake City / Where you can’t get f**ked up, can’t get sh*tty?” the song asks, simultaneously ribald and friendly. Pretty much like Holly and Dave.
That song is on the new record, All Her Fault, released last month.