The Holiday - Review

They're a new band from Southampton and I'm going to go to a gig they are putting on tonight. This is all I know and I'm filled with apprehension. I arrive at six o'clock - the time i am told but there is deafening silence, so i wait around for a few minutes. It soon becomes clear that nobody else is here. A tall man with blond fluffy hair comes out and tells me, while doing up his tie, that the band are currently sound checking and they will be ready to perform at seven. So i decide to wait downstairs for an hour and when i go back up, this time i know it must be getting close to the band performing, as it’s hard to walk through the main door. The small room seems even smaller as it's crowded with people. Noise and bustle fills the room. It’s not quite excitement but more like wonderment. Wonderment about who we're about to witness.

Soon all the secrecy is revealed and five guys take to the stage. They are new up and coming self-proclaimed "indie- rock, cheesy-pop" band The Holiday. The band is influenced by the likes of "The Beatles, "Panic! At The Disco" and "Mcfly" so I'm intrigued of the sound they are about to produce. The lead singer takes to the mike and announces: "We're from Southampton and happy to be here." After some introductions and some general chatting between the band members, lead singer Jamie Smart tells the crowd: "Enough of this shit, let’s get on with it." They begin to play and the sound is heavier than Mcfly and less emo than Panic! Smart is dancing all over the stage and In between the dancing, and stomping his feet, he chats to the lively crowd of girls, eagerly hanging off his every word. Alongside lead singer Smart, are Daniel Cobb and James Broderick on guitar, James Harding on bass and finally on drums is Johnathan Royston-Clair.

With cult hit 'Call the Sun' playing, the band get the crowd involved and before long they begin to chant: "Hello sun, goodbye rain". It is surprising that this band is only just starting out. The attitude and swagger that they seem to possess makes you think that they are old pros at this and you soon forget that the band are just university students.

The thing that strikes you first about the band is not the melodic hooks or the catchy lyrics, it's their seemingly obvious love of skinny jeans. The boys are unified in their love of tight trousers, white shirts and ties. Later i found out that this is a conscious decision: "It unifies us... black jeans, white shit and a tie. You instantly recognise a member of our band," says Johnathan.

After playing five songs to roughly one hundred and fifty people, lead singer Smart saunters off stage to rip off his jacket and throw it on the ground. Is this the first sign of diva behaviour? And if so, how is the band going to act when I interview them later on.

After this, I meet all five of them backstage, and we're sat around casually. The second thing that strikes you about the boys is how passionate they are about The Holiday. They are genuine guys with a genuine passion for music and behave like the best of friends. Maybe this comes from spending so much of their free time together and meeting each other before deciding to start a band.

"Me and Dan met at university," says Johnathan. "I told him I new a really good guitarist, which was James. We were all in different bands but decided to form The Holiday. We then met James on bass and new we needed a vocalist. We stole Jamie from another band."

"Yeah we pissed half of Southampton off with that," interrupts Jamie.

The boys have just spent the best part of the year working on their upcoming album, which is as yet untitled. However their big hopes for the next year are be signed to a record label. "Universal would be good, they're pretty big," says Dan.

However they are currently trying to build up a strong fan base, by playing small shows like the one i just witnessed and allowing fans to access free tracks through email.

Johnathon admits: "We've set up a mailing list, which will enable people to get info on us and also a couple of free tracks." He continues: "We want to build a huge fan base!"

However, unlike other bands The Holiday have shied away from the usual Internet phenomenon by having little online presence, by not putting themselves on social networking sites like MySpace. And I have to admit trying to Google the boys beforehand, came up with little information.
"We don't want people to find us," says Johnathan.

"We're just taking our time at the moment," reveals James. "We don't want all that, it relieves the pressure."
Taking inspiration from new British bands like The Vaccines, The Holiday say they're helping to bring Britt-Pop back into mainstream music once again. "The Vaccines are going back to the nineties, we're like that," admits Johnathan. "Just with our new take on it."

However, its not all serious talk with the boys this evening. In between answering questions, the boys show their more immature side by exposing embarrassing secrets about themselves. "I once went on a three-day bender, it was messy and I pissed myself twice," divulges James. "And Johnathan was in a band called 'Anal Dave'," reveals Dan.

Sitting with the band, they show no signs of the diva behaviour I earlier suspected, however there are slight signs of arrogance coming from lead singer Jamie; slouching in his chair, not really having an input into the conversation and looking like he has somewhere else to be. But it becomes clear that this is just the role that he plays in the band. There's the arrogant one, which is Smart, the funny one which is Daniel, the talkative one goes to Johnathan, the mysterious one which is James Broderick and the shy one which is James Harding.

Having played sold out venues across the UK, 2011 is surely going to be an even bigger year for The Holiday. With their cheeky-chap charm, wit and humour no doubt the industry will soon enough discover the boys. "We are the industry's best kept secret." says Johnathan.

The best kept secret looks set to be music’s next big. Watch this space.