Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs (London-based Holly Golightly and Lawyer Dave) hit the 7th Street Entry with their mud-scuffed shoes nearly half-way through their 27-city coast-to-coast tour celebrating the release of their new CD, Dirt Don’t Hurt.
The tone for the show was set by New Zealander solo-performer Delaney Davidson, whose looped layers of guitar and dark lyrics captivated the crowd with bone-chilling country noir. Davidson, who between songs evinced a charmingly dry wit, actually got audience members to dance in a waltz contest. Lawyer Dave and Holly hung out and chatted with audience members before their own light-hearted, laidback show.
Holly and Lawyer Dave managed to make the Entry almost feel like a honky-tonk with their down and dirty old-timey country and rural blues. Plaing guitars and backed up by banjo, harmonica, bass, and tambourines, the duo’s sound evoked June Carter and Johnny Cash playing in a jugband after reading a lot of Raymond Chandler. Not taking themselves too seriously for a moment, their songs ranged from amusing to outright hilarious—made more so by their playful repartee with one another and the audience.
One of the first songs, the lively “Ain’t Nobody Gonna Love Me Like the Devil Do,” was a seeming companion to a later number, “Jesus Doesn’t Love Me Anymore.” Both were performed in a folky, sing-songy fashion—the latter sounded like the sequel to “Jesus Loves Me” that no one ever taught us as children. Every good country noir show needs a foot-stompin’ gospel song, and accordingly there was “Getting High For Jesus (‘Cause He Got Low for Me).”
The song “My .45” is a great number featuring lovers bantering back and forth about the various ways they’re going to kill each other. “You cain’t run, so you better hide, my .45!” (“It’s a true story, ladies and gentlemen,” quipped Dave. “Now we’re going to do a children’s song.” “Like that was an adult song!” Holly snapped back.) They then did their song about children’s fear of escalators, with its refrain, “I can’t read ‘danger’!” This was a great segue to their next song, a dedication to Jägermeister—before which they mentioned the old debate of who invented it, the Swedish or the Germans, attempting to instigate an interethnic throwdown between any Swedish and German audience members. At one point, when Lawyer Dave’s guitar was causing him trouble, he exclaimed, “My guitar’s an asshole! It was made by the Germans for the French…think about it.”
Holly sang a song “about the time when I nearly ran over Dave with my truck,” and then they closed with a happy good-bye song to President “what’s-his-name,” a don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-in-the-ass song.
The irreverent songs were grounded in skilled musicianship, with great harmonies between the naturally complementary voices. Holly and Dave have a disarming ease that comes from many years of playing together. Making music your whole life, keeping it fun for the joy of it, and making light of dark stuff have always been a part of what country and the blues have been about—keeping people laughing and dancing through troubled times.