By Daniel Fitton
In launch of his debut EP ‘In the Face of It All’, Manchester singer/songwriter James Holt impressed a captivated audience at the King’s Arms in Salford last Saturday. With his rock ‘n’ roll / folk vibe, clearly inspired by the likes of Bob Dylan and The Beatles, Holt provided a superb performance in front of a crowd of around fifty. Highlights from the night include his unique take on Beatles numbers ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ and ‘Ticket To Ride’, his dry sense of humour on stage, akin to his striking performance of ‘Whatever Happened to John?’, a track which is frequently played on BBC Radio Manchester, and has been described as “brisk, funny, fresh and exciting to listen to,” by well-known producer Brian Eno, whom previously worked with the likes of David Bowie, Coldplay and Paul Simon.
Perhaps most impressive about the 21 year old is that he writes, plays and records all featured instruments himself, though this comes as no surprise when learning that he is currently studying a masters in composition at Salford University. With a voice that amalgamates to that of John Lennon and Jake Bugg, his expertise in composition resonates through his music, with melodies tending to start simple, but evolve into something progressively more complex and intricate, particularly present on his track ‘To Go Where the Wind Blows’.
Furthermore, the concert was enhanced by standout performances of the chilling song ‘Alone Again and Always’ and the melodic ‘Promises at Dawn’. The soft-sounding ‘I Thought You Were Crying (But It Was Just the Rain)’ also showed a nice variation and versatility to his music.
With his friends and family watching, Holt was appreciative of the support he received, making a conscious effort to thank those who made it all possible. Moreover, he played a number of new and unreleased songs, which were as equally popular as the tracks on the EP. Before leaving the stage, an audience member requested an older song of his: ‘If You’ve Ever Been Down Moss Bank Way’, a lucid and dreamy song inspired by his hometown Bolton, which he happily sang to round off the show. A well-deserved applause loudly erupted as the hour-long show came to an end.
I’d imagine that the local talent went home a happy man, after delivering a splendid performance. More importantly, he provided a great advertisement for his brand new EP ‘In The Face of It All’ which is available now.
To find out more visit: www.jamesholtmusic.com
Daniel is a second year Politics and Philosophy student with a keen interest in music, sport, Netflix and Reddit. Follow him on Twitter @dannyfitton10