In a tiny back room of the Castle Hotel in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, dreamy indie-pop four-piece Holy Now proved that they are destined for greatness with their euphoric choruses, jangly guitars and scrappy, lovelorn indie sound.

“Ett, två, ett, två, tre, fyra” is how Swedish four-piece Holy Now begin their show, by counting in their dreamy indie-pop tunes in, well, Swedish.

Holy Now started out in 2016, with Julia Olander (vocals), Ylva Holmdahl (drums), Samuel von Bahr (guitar) and Hampus Eiderström Swahn (bass). The band released their debut EP titled Sorry I Messed Up that same year. Since then, they’ve released a number of singles and their first album, Think I Need the Light which dropped in April 2018.

The tiny back room of the Castle Hotel in Manchester’s Northern Quarter was the chosen venue for the Gothenburg-based band who are joined by an audience of no more than 50 people. The members of the band watched their support band Dirty Orange and swapped over the t-shirts on the wall above the borrowed table from the bar ‘merch stand’ once they’d finished.

The Castle Hotel brought a special kind of hole-in-the-wall surrounding, with stained glass windows inside covered by red velvet curtains, and two shabby chandeliers hanging from the ceiling with plastic candles inside. There’s a passionate DIY vibe from the makeshift merch stand and the masking tape all around the sound desk with ‘NO DRINKS’ scribbled down in black marker.

Holy Now open with the song ‘Wake Up’ – simple, cheery melodies play underneath Olander’s ethereal singing of downhearted lyrics and both are unfaltering through the entire set. ‘Feel It All’ is short and sweet at under 3 minutes, but every second counts in this speedy number. Pearl is a magical-sounding, upbeat bop and resonated with the crowd which, while sparse, was now full of feeling. Seemingly shy at first, people were now dancing and creating the atmosphere that Holy Now deserved.

The group tells us about their first ever pie-eating experience here in Manchester, which was much smaller than they expected, in between songs and sips of Budweiser.

The songs are consistent but are far from sounding the same. It’s apparent in the music that the band have found their sound and worked hard to perfect it.

The set ends slowly with ‘Tainted Heart’ tying up the night and winding down at a leisurely pace to bring the crowd’s dancing to a halt. A long and well-earned applause follows, and the band leaves the stage. They stick around to finish their drinks and chat with each other and the audience.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a gig in an intimate venue and Holy Now reminded me what I’d been missing. Catch them somewhere small while you can, because these guys are destined for greatness.

★★★★☆

Follow the band on their social media to keep up to date with what’s going on: 

Facebook / Instagram