Review: Black Honey at The Joiners, Southampton

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A band to watch out for!

  • 8.0

Brighton’s Black Honey performed their third Southampton sell-out after the release of their debut album Black Honey (Deluxe) in November 2018. Chappaqua Wrestling, a fellow Brighton band, opened with a laid-back set, self-describing themselves as “the love child of two best friends”.

Kick-starting their 14-song show (long considering their set list usually only consists of 7 songs) was ‘I Only Hurt the Ones I Love’ – perfectly introducing the tone of the gig as energetic and powerful. Coming out in a combination of a cowboy hat and cow jumpsuit, these raw lyrics expressed heartbreak over what is presumed to be an ex-lover. Stating that “I cross your heart and hope to die/ I’ll break it just like you broke mine”. Instantly, the audience was made aware that Black Honey can easily out-perform their pre-recorded tracks whilst playing live.

The set list was cleverly laid out, starting very energetically, then slowing down into somewhat emotional rock ballads, finally picking up the pace with ‘Spinning Wheel’ – a perfect transition song starting mellow and turning energetic once again halfway through. Though 13 of these songs are on Black Honey’s debut album, their new song ‘I Don’t Ever Wanna Love’, coming out this June, also featured.

Intertwined within Black Honey’s gig were multiple moments of fan interaction. The band allowed the audience to form a connection and dismissed any chance of an artist-audience divide. Regular banter with the crowd was encouraged, grabbing a girl onto the stage, inviting co-writer Morgan to ‘cheers’ mid-performance, and even entering the crowd to sing ‘Baby’. This unsurprisingly brought about an amazing atmosphere, us both ranking this show in agreement as one of the best we’ve attended this year. Though maintaining these levels of high-energy throughout their performance was undoubtedly tough, Black Honey still encouraged fans to meet them at their merch stand as soon as they’d finished – having lengthy conversations and photo opportunities with everyone they greeted.

Female empowerment was evidently a key theme throughout the show, a particularly important message considering the lack of female representation in the indie scene. Just over a third of the way through the show, front woman Izzy B Phillips invited everyone who identifies as a woman to come to the front of the crowd, serenading us with ‘Corrine’ – an anthem dedicated to her best friend. Black Honey’s style of music can be likened to 80s female icons such as Joan Jet and Blondie (particularly ‘Call Me’). This further spreads the band’s message of female empowerment, not only having a female front woman (rare for most bands, let alone indie bands) but also embodying and reviving the sounds of previous iconic women within music.

The Joiners is known for their amazing sound quality, especially for a small venue with a capacity of 200. Black Honey used this to their advantage, with all instruments easily heard – encouraging a mosh after the second song that continued throughout. Izzy’s singing was also clearly audible, making the performance both vocally and instrumentally enjoyable. This is a complete change from how their set was performed at House of Vans when opening for Royal Blood in 2017, highlighting their remarkable transformation and growth. If continued, Black Honey will certainly make a name for themselves.

To end this perfectly coordinated set, ‘Somebody Better’ was performed. This saw them out in the manner they entered – buzzing, energetic and fun. The crowd continued to sing along and enjoy themselves just as much as the band, ending the show impeccably. If you’re yet to see Black Honey live, then you definitely should. You can catch them at many festivals this summer, most notably Reading/Leeds Festival 2019.

Black Honey’s music video for ‘Midnight’ can be found below.

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A History student with a Britney Spears addiction.

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