Black Honey’s debut album felt like a long time coming and the jump from the prickly indie cinema of ‘Spinning Wheel’ and ‘Somebody Better’ to the neon-tinged adventureland of that self-titled record was jarring. It’s been a winding, surprising path these last few years.
Live though, they’ve been building this world from the very start and tonight, at London’s Electric Ballroom, the curtains come down as the band unveil their masterplan.
Opening with the runaway defiance of ‘I Only Hurt The Ones I Love’ and instantly tumbling into a diamond tipped tear through of ‘Madonna’, there’s no gentle introduction or plan to keep the past from the present. Everything Black Honey are is thrust into the spotlight.
And they’re not the only ones with change beneath their feet. We don’t know what’s got into PINS lately but tonight, they cut a fierce shape across the stage. Sounding like a giddy collision of basement fury, arena pomp and never-say-die party spirit, the band sound formidable. They sound so good that frontperson Faith Vern climbs off the stage during the last song, stands on the barrier and watches the rest of the band bring their set to a dizzying, excitable conclusion.
Four years ago Black Honey played this venue for the first time supporting The Cribs and their first thought was “fuck me, this is the biggest room ever.” Tonight, it’s their playground but their first thought is still the same.
“You blow our fucking minds,” laughs Izzy before the gleeful romp of ‘Somebody Better’. Elsewhere the glam thunder of ‘Into The Nightmare’ sees the band haunted and doused in emerald green while ‘Whatever Happened To You’ flirts with stadium rock, winking and wide-eyed. Every track sees the band burn it down and start over. Every track sees Black Honey add new shades of brilliance to this electric landscape.
Izzy climbs atop the barrier for ‘Corrine’, all beauty, poise and shared voices before lighting something and watching it explode with sparking wonder. It’s the closing stomp of ‘Midnight’ that sees Black Honey bring everything full circle though.
Unpredictable, reckless and dancing with danger. it might be the furthest they’ve travelled from the ramshackle glitter and glue of old, but as Izzy writhes about the stage before the support bands invade, it feels as exciting as ever. “This is basically the start,” promise the band. “Welcome aboard.”
Words: Ali Shutler