Brighton-based indie rockers dazzle a sold-out crowd in Nottingham with a career spanning set and a bill that showcases women in rock music.
It has been four years since glamorous indie-rock band Black Honey first entered the music world, with a dazzling display of confidence amongst a huge catalogue of hits which were instantly picked up by representatives for BBC, NME and Q Magazine amongst others. Since 2014 they’ve released a mix of EP’s, toured with fellow Brighton rock duo and firm friends Royal Blood, and released a debut record of shimmering beauty. At a sold-out Rescue Rooms in Nottingham, for the ninth stage of a 17-date UK and European headline tour, the band demonstrated just why they are one of the UK’s most talked about acts right now with a set delving into their debut record as well as bringing in crowd pleasers from the EP’s.
Perhaps the greatest surprise of the night was the strength in depth of the bill. Kicking off proceedings were LA-based punk quartet Russo, fronted by the enigmatic Cailin Russo. Having only performed as a band for a year, this was one of the first UK tours for Russo, but they didn’t show any nerves as they rattled through tracks from their debut House With A Pool EP. Cailin Russo’s live persona is something that needs to be seen to be believed and tracks Ghost and Bad Things carry a supreme confidence within them. Russo’s drummer ignited huge sections of the set alongside the lead singer, with complex yet ferocious beats. Loudmouth was perhaps the track to really highlight the quality of the four-piece and it left the crowd with a huge sense of anticipation as to what to expect from Russo in the next few months.
With a brilliant opening set to warm the crowd up, PINS stepped up to the stage to highlight why they’ve been tipped as a band to watch out for. The Manchester four-piece charmed the Nottingham crowd with their ethereal blend of pop-punk and electro-funk, providing sharp and feisty vocals to a backdrop of tongue-bitingly addictive synths. Latest single Serve The Rich swirls around like a concoction of New Order, LCD Soundsystem and Right Said Fred, whilst the show as a whole was a fierce reminder of the talent and importance that all-female bands possess in today’s music scene.
As the venue reached its sold-out capacity with the last few crowd members filing into any open space available, Black Honey announced their arrival at the venue by beginning with the ferocious I Only Hurt The Ones I Love, the opening track from their self-titled debut record. From the offset, it’s clear that the crowd are in no mood to stand still, with a mosh pit practically engulfing the front section of the venue. Following with EP favourites Madonna and All My Pride, Izzy B’s stage persona is transformed from mystifying singer to bona fide rock goddess. Bad Friends offers a moment of respite before normal service is resumed with Somebody Better, the first of many highlights in their career spanning set to date, with Chris Ostler and Tommy Taylor packing a great punch in guitars whilst Tom Dewhurst’s crashing drums add a greater volume to the performance.
Midway through the show comes Blue Romance, the unexpected surprise from the debut record and a single glistening in beguiling beauty. Vocally, the track carries the sultriness of Lana Del Rey, but in a live setting, it reaches a new level completely. As mist engulfs Izzy B at the front of the stage, blue spotlights fall on members in the crowd. Perhaps it’s not until you see the spotlight fall on certain members of the crowd do you really appreciate the beauty of the moment. Visibly emotional about having sold-out the show, Izzy B thanks the crowd for being part of the Brighton group’s ever-expanding history.
The Royal Blood collaborated Into The Nightmare and Spinning Wheel spark frenzy into the already animated crowd, boosted by Izzy B’s screeching vocals in the latter of the tracks. Hello Today contains the charisma of a band at peak confidence and is a reminder that whilst being one of the band’s first songs, it remains a crucial one in both the set and on the album. Corrine kicks off the encore, with a huge crowd singalong and cameras filling the air whilst set-closer Midnight sees the crowd erupt in a disco-rock frenzy. An apt closing track, it injects confidence and a general sense of joy into the crowd as they leave the venue to flood out into the night.
Having had the pleasure to have interviewed the band earlier in September, and having reviewed the glistening self-titled debut record, it seems fitting to see the four-piece strut across the stage in Nottingham. Izzy B’s sensational stage persona sums up the gig perfectly. There’s an air of closure almost today, in the sense that this is the end of Phase 1 for the band. Having established themselves finally with a debut record, they now have the opportunity to embrace a wide variety of potential sounds in the future. This is their victory tour, without doubt. With the incredible talent down the bill in the support slots as well, this is a victory tour not just for Black Honey, but for women’s rock music as a whole.
Photography by Lucy Beth Photography