By Jack Rea
On a Tuesday night in one of Manchester’s most intimate hidden venues, played one of the most exciting live acts to emerge in recent times. If you’ve never listened to Brighton four-piece, Black Honey, then I strongly urge you to do so. Here is a link to their Soundcloud page – https://soundcloud.com/blackhoneyuk with their few releases to date so far (which I’ve currently got playing on repeat while I write this review.)
With a crowd of around a hundred people, in a room that resembled somebody’s basement done up with a few lights, the gig was a very personal affair. The first support, Manchester band Tahitian Sons managed to get on stage and start playing without any of the early arrivals noticing until the set was well and truly underway. They provided catchy tunes with an embarrassed staring at the floor mumbling set of vocals that struggled to fully reach the crowd. Not once during the set did they address the crowd, which gave the sense they were just a group of friends having a jam with the crowd being incidental. They left the stage as quietly as they had entered and that was that. Next up was another local band, Church Party who acted as polar opposites. The lead singer was full of charisma and energy, while the bass player kept up a humorous rapport with the crowd while the band sound-checked between songs. They provided songs a little heavier with more fully developed lyrics, resulting in the lead singer thrashing about passionately with his guitar on the final song. This was a perfect way of building up to the spectacular finale of the night, Black Honey.
The band made their way onto the stage, apologising for being a little late because they “were in the loo” before diving straight in with their outstanding single “Spinning Wheel.” It starts slowly with lead-singer Izzy telling the crowd “Love is just a spinning wheel. Turning like the tumbleweed,” before it drops into a belter of a cinematic masterpiece, bringing to mind the hot sandy deserts of western movies. Izzy gives a signature scream between the lyrics and already the audience have chills. The set then goes straight into their next big single “Madonna”, with perhaps the catchiest chorus of all their songs. It’s hard to know how the bar can be raised from here as the band ramp things down a little for the next couple of songs, playing a couple of slower EP tracks.
The turning point of the gig comes when the band play an as-yet unreleased track “Mothership.” A slow, plodding start builds up tension in the room with repetition of the lyrics “Hold me tight. Sway me slowly. I wait for mother ship to control me” all the while getting faster and faster. The excitement in the crowd builds to the point that when the song drops the audience comes alive and begins to dance frantically, pushing its way to the front of the stage. The surge of energy continues for the rest of the set, with the band following on with singalong anthem in the making “Corrine.” By the time the final track arrives, “You said it all” the front row of the crowd is dragged onstage to dance alongside the band in a state of frenzy. In the commotion lead-singer Izzy is knocked backwards into the drum-kit but she’s back up again in seconds laughing. It’s clear that she and the audience have just had the time of their lives.
Being in that room I feel like I’ve witnessed something special. Unfortunately with only a handful of tracks to their name so far, the set lasted little over half an hour. But what a half an hour it was.
Jack is a third year English student and self-proclaimed Whovian who also enjoys film and live music. You can read his blog here.