From the moment Holly Golightly hit the cozy living-room-sized stage at Brooklyn’s Union Hall on October 29, her true sense of belonging became readily apparent. She and multi-instrumentalist Lawyer Dave (the only standing member of the Brokeoffs) gently eased into a set of bluesy material culled mostly from the duo’s 2007 album, You Can’t Buy a Gun While You’re Crying. Sure, the songs literally declared, “Jesus Don’t Love Me.” And Golightly peppered her banter with droll observations about the duo’s alienating, six-week-plus tour through Middle America’s finest charms, such as Omaha, Fargo and Salt Lake City (according to Golightly, the Mormons are “funny people . . . though they believe in magic underwear and wooden submarines that sink”). But Golightly presented her devil-may-care songs with the type of carefree aplomb that thrives from the displacement of being on the road.
That much of Golightly’s new material dealt with wanderlust spirits only enhanced the evening. With only the two of them, the pair could only replicate so much of the original arrangements — Lawyer Dave resorted to drumming with his feet while playing lead guitar and singing. However, live, the pair transformed the spare clunking Puss ‘n Boots stroll of You Can’t Buy a Gun by cranking the distortion and allowing the songs to become ramshackle and gently bruising. And amid the turbulence, Golightly shut her eyes and swayed gently while treating each song with decency and wit (a song about escalators from a child’s perspective was prefaced as a piss take on Crocs). How encouraging to see Golightly still working so hard to add that blend of sweet ‘n’ tuffness into her already-new songs. Maybe it’s high time to invite her home to meet the parents?