Black Honey live in-store at Brighton record store to support debut album.
Sometimes the best part of going to a gig is the feeling of anticipation as you turn the corner and see the venue. Will they play your favourite song? Will you get a decent view? Will the support be your new favourite band? This rush of excitement can sometimes be better than the gig itself. Luckily this was not the case as I turned the corner on to Kensington Gardens toward Resident Records and took up a good spot for Black Honey’s in-store, to promote their self-titled debut album.
The last time I saw Black Honey was in 2015 at The Haunt in Brighton. They were supporting The Wytches with Morning Smoke (RIP) on the bill too. Their set was exhilarating and full of exquisitely dark and brooding songs, and a giant pink flamingo. A lot had happened for them since then, most notably recording their brilliant debut album.
When they took to the stage/shop floor I was slightly disappointed that it wasn't a full band set and wondered how it would work. Luckily I only had a few moments to ponder this as they launched into ‘I Only Hurt the Ones I Love’.
The stomper ‘Into the Nightmare’ got the crowd smiling and nodding appreciatively. Stripped down it felt more visceral and powerful than on the album. ‘Blue Romance’ slowed things down a bit, but the intensity was there. The clarity of Izzy B Philips’ vocals really shone through and was the star of the show. It showed that Black Honey are capable of writing something tender, moving and with a killer chorus.
This was followed up with ‘Crowded City’ and the catchy upbeat vibe was resumed.
The star of the set was ‘Midnight’. On their record, this is a glam indie disco banger, but stripped down it took on a more melancholy vibe, that hinted at something more tender and heartfelt. The set ended with the monster ‘Hello Today’ and with it came a thunderous round of applause.
What Black Honey demonstrated at Resident is that they don't need the full setup to get their message, and stories, across. The seven songs they played were full of the same intensity and passion as that gig at the Haunt, but there was a confidence that touring and constant songwriting brings. From the first song to the last, they owned the crowd. Every eye was on them, every song was met with rapt applause. This is the kind of respect that can't be bought, it is earned from constantly delivering great songs and gigs.
On the way home I reflected on what I'd witnessed. A band delivering a strong set of songs, to their fans who revelled in the chance to see them in an intimate setting, meet them after and get their copy of the album signed. We're my initial expectations met? Definitely. Are Black Honey worth checking out on their next tour to hear these songs in full? Without a question.
Photos: Jamie MacMillan