Review: Black Honey at The Joiners, Southampton

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Black Honey last night showed why they are one of the hottest young indie bands in the UK, with an incredible performance at The Joiners. A band yet to release their debut album, Black Honey didn’t need a huge repertoire of hits or a tech filled stage to get the crowd going. Lead by mesmeric frontwoman Izzy B, the band had the crowd in hushed appreciation during the quieter moments and going ballistic at every possible raise in the tempo. Even the slower and more laid back ‘Corrine’ saw a lively mosh pit form from the small but passionate crowd at the venue.

The young band have just seven songs out (personal favourites are ‘Corrine’ and ‘Teenager’), and although their indie rock/alternative pop sound has won much praise, it’s clear though that where the band really excel is in live performances, as they delivered a powerhouse performance at The Joiners.

Dressed as alternative as the band’s sound in a red beret, band t-shirt and leather choker, Izzy B’s almost supernatural presence on stage had the crowd completely round her finger from the second she stepped out. Her influence on the audience was almost shamanic, as she felt at once part of everyone, yet far above us. She seemed to hypnotise the crowd, as she descended from the stage, silencing the room, and almost whispered her lyrics or speeches to those closest to her, as we gathered as disciples to a prophet to hear her words – those further back pressing to hear but those gathered around her almost afraid to get too close to her ethereal presence, sitting down around her at her request, hanging on her every word and then going mad on her command – storming the stage, crowdsurfing and going primal in the mosh pit as she roared the crowd back into life.

The Joiners, with its small and intimate feel and stage accessible to the crowd, was the perfect venue to see a group who seem to thrive on having a close relationship to their audience. Both when everyone got on stage, and afterwards when they came out to meet the crowd, the whole band treated everyone more like old friends than paying customers. Shaking hands, taking selfies with and chatting to the members, the band were all genuinely happy to hang out and talk to everyone. Giving out free temporary Black Honey tattoos (which Izzy helped everyone put on), happily autographing their merchandise, and signing people up to the band’s mailing list, they made it clear that they really valued and cared about their fans.

Despite the band’s stated wish to remain relatively unknown and underground, it might be hard for them to keep avoiding the spotlight, as the loyalty, energy and enthusiasm of their fans means that it feels possible that word of mouth alone could carry them right to the top. It feels like if just one or two performances are picked up by the mainstream media, this band could blow up, especially with a strong debut album. If they do shoot out of the underground and into the mainstream, the band’s main challenge might be to keep the energy and enthusiasm up when they are too big to be able to mingle with the crowd so effortlessly.

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