Black Honey


Brighton quartet Black Honey are tonight’s visitors to The Castle Hotel. Much has been written about the band since their songs first emerged on Soundcloud last summer, but despite that, the entry tonight is completely free. Along for the ride this evening are two bands from around these parts, Idea For A Film and Cactus Knife. Alas, my arrival is too late to catch Idea For A Film, but I am present before Cactus Knife take to the stage.

A faulty microphone causes the set to begin with a false start. The members of Cactus Knife don’t look too phased by the technical difficulties though. Playing shows in support of their debut album My Methaqualone, my favourite song of their set is the methodical punching of ‘Krakeye’ which features on that album.

Three members of the headline act prepare the stage. Part of their setup involves placing a broken TV, its insides replaced by blue fairy lights, at the back right of the stage. Frontwoman Izzy Bee Phillips appears only when the set is ready to begin. The first track starts slowly and quietly before the music kicks, Phillips screams and we are on our way.

There are four Black Honey songs currently available online. These same four songs make up the debut EP of the band (though they did previously release an EP under the guise Kill Moon). One of those songs, ‘The Taste’, is next up. Phillips’s vocals are somehow effortless and full of attitude all at the same time. It creates a haunting sound and almost sends the audience into a trance.

The performance is assured and it continues to be throughout the set. A couple of songs later comes ‘Sleep Forever’, the first song the band released last year. Looking around the room there are many faces I can see mouthing the words. The next and penultimate song ‘Teenager’ continues to attract some lip-synching action before the anthemnic ‘Bloodlust’ races us to the end of the set.

During a short pause towards the end of ‘Bloodlust’ there is a “whoop” from the crowd. Phillips responds with a chuckle into the microphone before the band really go for the close. She announces the end by knocking the microphone, still on its stand, into the crowd. Moments later her guitar follows and she storms from the stage, through the crowd and out the door at the back of the room. An abrupt end to an intense thirty minutes of live performance.

The display of attitude does seem restricted to the on stage persona. It isn’t long before Phillips re-enters the room with a smile on her face and some EPs to sell. The band made no attempt during the performance to speak to crowd, opting just to play their songs and get off. I usually enjoy an anecdote or two from acts I go to see, but nevertheless Black Honey look like they belong on the stage. They’re destined to be playing bigger, more expensive venues soon. If you want to see them before they become household names, and I think you should, you’ll need to move quickly.

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Adam Smith

There is nothing I'd rather be doing with my evenings than watching excellently crafted live music. In fact, there isn't much I'd rather be doing than watching half-decent live music. Having too often seen excellent bands fail to garner the attention I believe they deserve, I'm here to spread the good word of the under-appreciated musical performer. I encourage everyone who is reading this to do the same.