Review: Black Honey returns to Brighton

[This story was first published online in the Brighton and Hove Independent website on October 15,  2018. The original story can be read here:]

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Black Honey performs in Brighton. Pictures by Jeff Morgan

If last night is anything to go by, Black Honey fans go hard. Although this is the Brighton band’s debut album tour, the audience was right there with the four-piece for every song, clearing floor space in preparation to mosh at the upcoming crescendos, and bellowing the band’s lyrics back at them. The band’s choruses, in fact, with their compulsive, chant-like repetition, seem to have been written with the intent of making singing-along a basic requirement for the audience.

The room pulsated to the beat as feet stomped and the kids up front jumped, outstretched hands towards the stage. Concorde 2’s doors were flung open onto the storm, and you could see the heat from sweaty band-t-shirted bodies, mashed together and moving in time to the music, dissipating into the cold rain. A shoe gets lost in the mosh pit: tumultuous applause breaks out when it is theatrically returned to its owner.

If the fans go hard, the band goes harder: Black Honey doesn’t stop long enough to interact much with the audience, waiting only a few beats between finishing one high-energy track and crashing into the next.

Neon lights

Eclectically retro, Black Honey’s music draws on 70s disco, 80s electro, and 90s pop, echoing artists from Blondie to Lana Del Ray. Cinematography cuts across everything Black Honey creates, from the slogan tees at the merch stand, to the silhouette cut across the stage as the band performs in front of neon lights, flashing eyes and lips in blue, yellow and pink.

With backcombed, white-blonde locks and a stare made dead-eyed and confrontational by uplighting, lead singer Izzy B. Phillips is like a reanimated, rock’n’roll Tarantino heroine, complete with finger-gun pointed straight out at the audience. She climbs out into the audience, instructing everyone to get down on their knees, filming her own show on her iPhone. It’s almost like the movie’s Final Girl has picked up the still-rolling camera and is telling her own story.

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Russo on stage at Concorde 2

Both support bands are well worth checking out. Russo, a four-piece hailing from LA (and powering through the travel exhaustion, having flown over literally the day before), were first up, headed by energetic frontwoman Cailin Russo. Loudmouth and particularly Bad Things (with its compelling bass line) are great tracks. Sexy, rocky, fun: think Yeah Yeah Yeahs, or No Doubt. Manchester band Pins were up next, led by Faith Vern, who cuts a shape on stage in a gold power suit. Guitars and drums accompany chorus chants, producing magnetic dance-rock.

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Support band Pins, hailing from Manchester

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