By NOTES FROM VIVACE
Greg Holden recently played an early Friday show that enthralled his album-clutching fans at the Moroccan Lounge.
It was a packed house with many of those on hand holding the new album that they bought prior to the start of the set. They were worried that if they waited until the end of the set, there wouldn’t be any records left. Holden is promoting the new album is World War Me.
By his second song (On The Run), everyone in the venue was singing along without prompting.
His songs range from topics like homelessness to father-son reconciliation. He mentioned that his songs weren’t based on the most uplifting topics, but I would argue he has a talent to turn depressing topics into a source of hope.
During the set he asked the audience for some questions. One asked how was his set at Hotel Utah in San Francisco. Then another asked a more difficult question: How hard is it to be so good looking? That caused him to blush and so he blamed this question on the wife of his guitarist. His guitarist took playful offense to this and messed up the start of the next song. It made for an amusing moment.
For me, a set is awesome if I am clicking away with my camera and before I know it, I realize that there are only two songs left before the set ends. This is how I felt as Greg was bringing his set to a close. When he mentioned that his sets are often an hour and 30 minutes versus this night’s one-hour set, I felt a sense of loss. But I enjoyed a magical hour.
Greg Holden Q and A
Set list included “Nothing Changes,” “On the Run,” “The American Dream,” “Save Yourself,” “Give It Away,” “The Next Life,” “I’m Not Your Enemy,” “Boys in the Street,” “Home,” “I Don’t Believe You,” and “Hold On Tight.”
I had the opportunity to have the following Q and A exchange with him:
NFV: How would you describe your music?
GH: This is always a difficult question to answer without either sounding like a hopeless cliché or a pretentious asshole. But a while back I referred to it as English Americana, and that sort of stuck.
NFV: I found your lyrics just so emotional. Would you mind talking about your writing process?
GH: My best songs almost always come out of learning or reading about something that truly devastated me, which is probably why my shows are filled with songs about refugees, the homeless, and suicide. Great party songs for a Friday night show!
NFV: I read that you’ve spent your music career in London, New York and Los Angeles. Any thoughts on the differences/similarities in those cities when it comes to their music scenes?
GH: They’re all so different. When I lived in London, I still had a day job, and wasn’t “in the scene” or anything like that, so I would never try and speak for London’s current musical climate. It’s a great city though and people are really open to unique expressions of art and music (especially when the weather’s nice, ha ha). New York was just immediately home for me, and where my favorite musicians and best friends lived and played. It was a wonderful time in my life, filled with nightly live collaborations, too much booze and countless inspirational moments in the city with freakishly talented musicians and people.
Unfortunately, New York has out-priced itself and has driven away many of its creators. There’s barely any music being made there anymore. Money is what makes and breaks that city, and always will be. A bummer really because it’s such a great place to live and create in. Los Angeles is booming, and everywhere you turn someone is creating something. I didn’t love it at first, but it’s growing on me in a profound way, and I’m always creating here, and have no shortage of people to do it with. Each city is wonderfully unique in its own way and I’m very grateful to have lived in all of them.
NFV: I heard you are a vegetarian. That sounds like that would be a challenge on the road. Any tips on how you make it work?
GH: Whole Foods and Chipotle.