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Holly Humberstone proves just the ticket in Edinburgh’s southside

A review of the English singer-songwriters March 2024 show at the Queen's Hall in Scotland's capital.

The inhabitants of The Grapes pub have seen it all. Situated in the southside of Edinburgh there’s nothing that shocks those who dwell in the infamous bevvying establishment.

Not even a massive tour bus stationed outside its door complete with a parking ticket on the windscreen.

The drinking den of ill repute is situated next to The Queens Hall, the former church turned into an entertainment venue. While the double decker in question belonged to Holly Humberstone, the singer songwriter who in a short space of time had made a big name for herself. 

She found prominence during the pandemic when a series of well received EP’s which flaunted her talent perfectly. This lead to her finishing second on the BBC Sound of 2021 list and winning the Brit Award Rising Star the following year. Debut album Paint My Bedroom Black was released last year to critical success and she kicked off the first night of her UK tour in Scotland's capital city.

Humberstone had supported Lewis Capaldi in the past. Someone else who’d also did that was Medium Build, this time doing the same for Holly. Medium Build. Large Intensity. XL Talent.

Imagine Prince having got dressed in the darkened corner of a jumble sale and you’re on your way to appreciating the live experience. Top notch in between banter and a Scotland strip with your name misspelt for the local audience doesn’t get you far (that’s a lie) but they’ve got so much more to offer than that. 

It’s tricky for support acts. Playing to the back of heads or disinterested punters doing enough to make you want to check them out when you get a moment. Medium Build did more than enough to charm and enthral those in attendance.  

He teed things up perfectly for the main event. This was Humberstone’s first ever headline performance in Auld Reekie. Early in the show she seemed a bit nervous but she soon settled into her stride.

'Paint My Bedroom Black’ the title song from her album kicked off proceedings. Abley backed by a trio of talented musicians, Humberstone took centre stage, glancing up at the balcony who found their dancing shoes and voice by the time 'Overkill' kicked in. 

While she  sat at a piano for 'London Is Lonely' you'd be wrong to think that it would be a laid back encounter that would have people dozing off. Medium Build joined her on stage for a lively duet of 'Cocoon' while 'Falling Asleep At The Wheel' pulsated with a disco beat that reminded you of Lorde smashing it with 'Green Light'.

Sam Fender previously duetted for a cover of his epic 'Seventeen Going Under' and you could see the similarities between the two. A pair of songwriters with a canny knack of connecting with their target audience and winning new fans along the way. 

Humberstone also has the ability to turn it up a notch with a rocky edge. While she kept her English accent, she's got a big, rock American sound which owes a lot to 00's alternative guitar acts. 

New song 'Dive' resembled Wheetus 'Teenage Dirtbag' while 'Girl' is another that could have been a hit twenty years ago. 

She rushed back on stage for an encore of 'Friendly Fire' and 'Scarlett' before she proclaimed she was overwhelmed with the support she'd received.

Humberstone departed the stage as ‘I Miss You’ from Blink 182 played over the PA. A fitting tribute in more ways than one. 

A tender anthem for the outsiders that resonates with so many. And after her Edinburgh show, Humberstone is going to missed.

Especially by traffic wardens.


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