As one of the most blogged about new acts of 2014, it was perhaps fitting that Brighton’s hotly tipped Black Honey stopped off at Manchester’s Castle Hotel as part of their first UK headline tour. After all The Castle is a venue which has reputation for supporting emergent talent locally as well as putting on up and coming artists from further afield.
After solid support from Idea For A Film and Cactus Knife, Black Honey took to the stage and provided compelling evidence that they are not simply the latest blog buzz band, hyped today and gone tomorrow. Mind you, we were fans of the band under a previous guise before they re-emerged with a new name, their identity shrouded in secrecy. There were no publicity shots no carefully crafted back-story just wonderful music, all of which gave rise to Black Honey being labelled a ‘mystery band’, but regardless of the obfuscation, and playful use of smoke and mirrors it’s been apparent since their reinvention that there is genuine substance to back up the growing acclamation.
As a live act they are a genuinely a thrilling proposition able to hypnotise with tender beauty such as on the majestic narcotic sprawl of pop noir classic- in-waiting ‘Sleep Forever’ or the chiming melodic majesty of ‘Teenager’ and then flick a switch and explode into life with incendiary power on tracks such as ‘The Taste’ ‘Ghost’ and ‘Bloodlust.’
And ‘Black Honey’ is certainly an appropriate term to use when characterising lead singer Izzy Bee‘s vocal prowess. Her sensual languid delivery on ‘Sleep Forever‘ has her sounding not unlike a more emotionally engaged Lana Del Rey, yet whilst she can deliver timeless dark glittering pop nuggets, imbued with a sense of fatalistic faded glamour, she can also summon up raw visceral power, which owes more to the unhinged menace of Courtney Love and her ilk. She’s certainly a captivating and dramatic focal point, one minute a snarling seductive enchantress, the next an emotionally damaged, slightly deranged ‘prom queen’ fixing the audience with an intense stare, before hurling herself about the stage, as the band whipped up a furious wall of sound.
Black Honey expertly meld elements of shoegaze, grunge, and noise pop with a hint of Phil Spector whilst new song ‘Spinning Wheel’, driven by Chris Osler’s majestic guitar work, is a heroic example of cinematic surf pop at its finest. Another new song ‘Madonna’ only served to reinforce the view that Black Honey have the tunes and the talent to go all the way. It was undoubtedly a hugely impressive set and our only complaint was that it ended all too soon, but in suitably dramatic fashion with Izzy kicking the mic and stand off the stage and then hurling her guitar through the air for good measure. Boom! Take that Manchester your first, but not your last ‘sweet taste of darkness.’
Black Honey – Live Photo slideshow
For additional live photos click HERE