Standing inside Oh! Jean Records, I waited for the pre-release show for Huntly’s debut album Low Grade Buzz. There was a distinct, familial feel in the room. All of the guests were conversing as though many of them were old friends. The members of Huntly – Elspeth, Andrew, and Charlie – were walking around the room, chatting it up with everyone, greeting each other with genuine smiles and big hugs.

This event was clearly for their core fan base. Young artists, like this Melbourne based trio, are in a sweet spot within their careers in regards to that.

You often hear of bona fide superstars reminiscing upon the days when their shows were filled with close friends and family before ascending to the upper echelons of the industry. This show felt like it could be that type of memory for Huntly one day.

The band was given a heartfelt introduction and it was clear that the people they’ve surrounded themselves with care about this project. Throughout the show, they gave shoutouts to their various managers and video producers while evoking an earnest pride in what they had created together. 

Speaking of pride, the queer energy in the room was beautiful. As a queer identifying band, Huntly makes a point to “create a safe space” for the LGBTQ+ community.

However, they also realize their privilege and recognize that they can’t create an entirely safe space without acknowledging that when they perform, they do so on stolen land.

The band moved through their 4 song set with a combination of fun and vulnerability. Before each song, a small story accompanied it. Elspeth, the lead singer, prefaced Giving Circle by explaining the origin of the lyric “I pull my shirt over my face”. During a time when her and her friends were essentially breaking up with each other, she literally hid her face in her shirt because the situation was so awful. I think many of us can relate to that moment of wanting to just disappear.

It’s these intimate details that have shown me a new way to engage with their music. It humanizes the story behind each song and takes a layer of the unknown away.

These songs are real stories from real people, and they’re willing to share them with us. 

They also made sure to have fun with it. The trio were carefree, dancing on stage and doing everything from laughing to crying.

Huntly’s connection with their audience is refreshingly authentic, and I’m sure they will be developing a large group of loyal fans as they promote and tour this album.  I for one, can’t wait to see how far they go.