Hand on heart, I would probably say when it comes to rising UK artists in today’s time, singer-songwriter Holly Humberstone is up there as one of my absolute favourites. I have had the pleasure of seeing Holly perform a couple of times in the past both at festivals and small venues too, and each time it takes my breath away.
2022 was probably a year that things went up another level, because it came with a whole lot of exciting moments as she continued her evolution, including being acknowledged by the likes of the BRIT Awards and also collaborating with the likes of Sam Fender. I have no shame in saying this but for me as a fan this past couple of years discovering Holly’s music has been an absolute dream as I have cried, healed and found great comfort in her music, due to the way it has this air of poetic vulnerability about her songs and infuses in strength and hope.
Having already seen a couple of her shows in the past, and listening to her on my Deezer account pretty much most days, like any fan I wondered when I would have the chance to see her again. Thankfully I did not have to wait long because on the 27th November 2022 she returned to Newcastle as part of her Sleep Tight Headline Tour, but this time performing at the recently opened NX venue.
Her shows are known for that intimate feel which is perfect for cool venues such as The Cluny where I have seen many a ground breaking artist - Holly being one of them, so I was intrigued and excited to see how Holly Humberstone would elevate that captivating vibe in a new setting.
Before that though, and to help set the tone for the night ahead, fans were treated to a set by another familiar face, L Devine. Born and raised in the North East, L Devine herself has had one brilliant journey of her own, and continues to grow in confidence that keeps getting stronger and better with each passing day.
Taking a short break after L Devine’s set, it was finally time for Holly Humberstone to take to the stage, with everyone in the crowd trying to get a good view. The lights go down, and one by one members of Holly’s live band take to the stage, followed closely by the lady herself , welcome by the cheers and appreciative screams of the Newcastle crowd. Beginning with The Walls Are Way Too Thin, taken from her latest album, it wasn't too long that everyone was dancing along and singing at the top of their lungs, gives me butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it.
This song, like all the others from the album are amazing, but I think when you are able to hear it performed live in front of you it just makes it a whole lot more special. After a strong start, Holly continues as she means to go on with another popular fan favourite, Vanilla, before finally taking the opportunity to greet the crowd. The words ‘Hello Newcastle’ received with open arms and a flare of celebration to it.
While Holly herself may not be originally from this region, having had many friends from the region during her university years, this is nevertheless a part of the world which holds a very special place in her heart, which is so evident in the both her smile and the way she looks at the fans in front of her with a whole lot of love in her eyes.
Having released her latest album Can You Afford To Lose Me? in October, the Sleep Tight Tour was an opportunity for everyone to come together to stand with Holly to celebrate such a special milestone and give thanks to an album which although may have only been out a few months, continues to be so significant to so many people. So there is no better setting than a headline tour where you can enjoy being in the moment as you hear sensational tracks such as Friendly Fire and Haunted House.
Taking a step away from latest album, Holly also took the opportunity to take the fans down share a song which she wrote when she decided to move to the capital city, entitled, London Is Lonely, which my word was so beautiful to hear. Like the majority of her music, as a lyricist Holly Humberstone’s strength and greatest superpower is that she speaks from a place of honesty driven by her deepest thoughts, feelings and experiences in life, and it is this quality which for me I admire about her the most because it is so easily to relate to.
Having given us all a night to remember and take our breath away it was always time to say goodbye, but not without Holly making the crowds even more of a reason to sing along a little tad longer with tracks Falling Asleep At The While followed by Sleep Tight, before bringing her en-core to a close with the song which took us all back to the very beginning of her journey, Scarlett. Being in NX Newcastle and singing along to this song at the top of my lungs along with everyone else, was probably one of the most special moments ever!
As I think back to 2022 and all of the shows I went to over the year, Holly Humberstone’s Sleep Tight UK headline tour for me is right there as one of the best live shows I have had the pleasure of witnessing. On behalf of music fans everywhere, I thank Holly Humberstone for giving us all the gift of her music, and am excited more than ever to see all the great achievements yet to come!
Article By Thushara Chandrasiri - Live Photography By Callum Robinson