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It would have been a humbling view for Sydney band The Holidays as they looked over the crowd at Oxford Art Factory on Friday. The hometown fans stood shoulder to shoulder with all eyes on the dream pop group, who were playing to a sold-out venue as part of their national Real Feel Tour.
Real Feel is the second full-length studio album by The Holidays and praise has been high for the follow-up to their 2010 sophomore LP Post Paradise. Despite only being released on 21st February, expectation had been building since late last year when the trio released their first sample Voices Drifting.
Blue lights illuminated Simon Jones, Alex Kortt and Andrew Kerridge as they took to the stage accompanied by a few friends that they later told me help them to “recreate all the sounds”. The show opened with Long Now, which instantly lifted the room’s atmosphere. Simon’s vocals closely resembled the lyrics “drifting and floating” from the song. This energy was maintained by All Time High, their latest release and one of their most upbeat tracks, followed by their very first single Moonlight Hours.
Going back to Real Feel, Please Forget was performed for an audience singing along to the chorus of this album highlight. Those who were yet to know the lyrics swayed in unison in a show of sonic escapism.
By now everyone was deeply engaged in the set and another song from Post Paradise was played as 2 Days acted as a prelude to Voices Drifting, a personal highlight and surely a draw card for many in attendance.
Many people danced along to the cheerful up-tempo beats of Simple Pleasures before 6am and then the beloved Broken Bones, which would have been the climax of the evening if it wasn’t for the encore.
Nearing the end of the solid set, every remaining song on Real Feel had been played except for Japan Window. For the encore, the catchy conga rock of Golden Sky set a new high for the night. Fans got up on stage to dance with the band, met with no objection from the boys, who didn’t say much but were clearly having just as good of a time.
Photo by Ashley Mar