Black Honey back up their cinematic style with hypnotic sonic substance.
Remembering Black Honey in their infancy is to recall their stronghold over the Tumblr-esque indie scene of the mid 2010’s. Culminating in a long haul stint touring with industry fodder Catfish and the Bottlemen, Black Honey’s doe-eyed stage presence satisfied the horny bouts of teen heat flooring the scene at the time. However, unlike Catfish and the Bottlemen, who seem to have been bred in a hit-churning industry lab, Black Honey have evolved stylistically over time, from 2016’s minimalist EP Headspin, to 2021’s kitschy, Tarantino-drenched Written and Directed.
Seeing Black Honey for the first time outside a festival setting has me itching for some immersion: I want to feel like I’m in a film noir, inside frontwoman Izzy B. Phillips’ head as she envisions her own cinematic universe. Luckily, Saint Luke’s provides the ultimate backdrop for their stylistic endeavours, and as Black Honey launch into I Like The Way You Die, the venue’s stained glass windows reflect kaleidoscopic shapes onto the crowd. Paired with the tech crew’s fuzzy stage lighting, Black Honey look positively ethereal, like they should be the in-house band for a John Waters film.
“You know that you’re our family, you have our true blood here” Phillips yells out in-between tracks. After pleasing the crowd with indie cornerstone Corrine, it is soon time for Black Honey’s public service announcement, as Phillips winks “We had tattie scones for breakfast!” And as Black Honey settles into the swampy, effects-laden Madonna, everyone is a good few pints in and mesmerised by a band intoxicated by their own melodies. Tracks from Written and Directed run thick and fast, from the parisian chic of Beaches to the world-weary caveats of Disinfect, showcasing their broad cinematic oeuvre as a band.
We are caught in the seductive throws of Dig, a decadent slow-burner that sizzles with cinematic finesse. Phillip’s nonchalance as she clasps the mic and drawls “Midnight diving, dinner cracks / When you see velvet I see black” cross-pollinates the opulence of Chemtrails-era Lana with mid-Memphis Dusty; fertile ground for a febrile, intoxicated audience.
At the end of Run For Cover Baxter swan dives into the audience for a wee crowd surf, borrowing some gal’s bucket hat and flower glasses for one last rodeo. With its blistering final chorus “Loud as thunder / Burst like a blister / It’s no wonder / You should run for cover” the show drop kicks its way into a finale, as Black Honey exit the stage satisfied with their performance. A smattering of crowd murmurs suggest an encore, but why spoil a perfect ending to a perfect night? Pints of Corona all round, I say.