Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs surprise, captivate Grey Eagle audience with sound

By Larisa KarrContributor – lkarr@unca.edu

Photo by Larisa Karr - Contributor Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs perform at The Grey Eagle last Friday.
Photo by Larisa Karr – Contributor
Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs perform at The Grey Eagle last Friday.

When I found out that Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs were coming to The Grey Eagle in February, I bought my tickets almost immediately. Having heard Golightly’s  contributions to the excellent Bill Murray film Broken Flowers, my fascination with her as a solo singer did not abate the more I listened to her incredibly varied and diverse musical catalog.

Needless to say, the concert she threw on Friday evening at was just as raw and reckless as one could expect from the unpredictable chanteuse and her co-musician, Lawyer Dave, otherwise known as The Brokeoffs.

The evening started off on a solid foot with the opening band, The Shine Brothers, pleasantly soaking our ears in their spirited, blues-drenched psych rock. From the instant my friend and I stepped into the holy cave of The Grey Eagle, the Asheville-based band had turned the small but energized crowd into a bunch of toe-tapping, PBR-guzzling happy campers. As a group that cites revenge, decay and alcohol as their primary influences, it would be apt that they would be accompanying a duo that cites bourbon, brisket and ribs as the key motivators behind their music.

Allegedly having met in a Chinatown smuggler’s den, British-born Holly Golightly and the all-American Lawyer Dave seem like a highly unlikely couple. Golightly does not look or act like the kind of renegade rock star who is admired by Jack White, but instead, in a green apple-colored shirt, blue jeans and no makeup, she looked kind of like a soccer mom.

With a rather flat cadence in her voice, she spoke in a delicate way you would expect would befit someone native to the land across the pond, whereas Dave spoke like he just stumbled out of the backwoods of Appalachia, forced to do so only because someone stole his moonshine.

However, when Golightly stops being polite and Dave stops snarling, and their raw, whiskey-tinged blues fill a room from wall to wall, it is then that you realize the beauty of their wonderfully unconventional partnership.

One of the first songs they played was a delightfully demented jam called “Devil Do,” in which Dave declares, “You can dunk me in the river, gonna clean my sin, but you might as well dunk me in a bucket of gin” because “ain’t nobody gonna love you like the devil do.” From this point forward, the spirit-soaked debauchery only crescendoed, with the yelps from the no-doubt inebriated audience sounding like something you would find in a rowdy, old-time Baptist church out on a lonesome highway. Golightly’s subsequent observation “everyone expresses themselves the way they see best” added to the untethered, rabid energy.

Other gems of the evening included “Gettin’ High For Jesus,” in which the singers declare they do this because, “Jesus got so low for me.” This sense of sly, deranged sarcasm was present instantly when they took the stage and revealed that they currently live together on a farm in Georgia.

As a result, several of their songs are drawn from various adventures living on this farm. Their stories are rich and hilarious, from an account of the couple harboring hateful feelings about their psycho neighbor to an ode about an incident where they found themselves in Salt Lake City. The organizers of the concert venues in the Utah capital had deemed their music too profane for the audience and ordered them edit it by making the bleep sound in supplement of the swear words.

Needless to say, they didn’t add any bleeps on that evening nor did they add any on this evening, but Golightly joked that they should’ve just added them from the beginning, as “they have an unusual sound to them.”

Toward the end of the evening, we found ourselves in the beat-up parking lot of The Grey Eagle, speaking to the members of the opening band. There was one moment when one of the members turned to look up the hill and, staring at the eerily lighted All Saints Pizza parlor, declared, “that looks like something you would see in a David Lynch movie.”

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