On a cold Thursday night, the doors of Church opened to welcome a sensational line-up of RUSSO, PINS and the visionary Black Honey. The beauty that ensued held testament to the roofless talent and flair of each of the bands, and it was certainly a night to be remembered.
First to grace the stage were Californian four-piece RUSSO. Frontwoman Cailin Russo commanded the room with her magnetic presence, as guitarist Tyler McCarthy played so hard his fingers started to bleed. Possessed by euphoria, he seemed to be in a world of his own; a world where nothing existed beyond the grand walls of Church. The four-piece performed as if they’d never perform again, as they swayed about the stage in mutual ecstasy. Drummer Hayley Brownwell could hardly contain herself to the realm of her drum kit, often standing up to stomp and thrash with effortless precision. RUSSO held the attention of the early doors crowd just as much with slower tracks, such as the beautifully simplistic ‘Joyride’. A stand-out track was ‘Bad Things’, a thundering track of empowerment that Russo introduced as a song about “doing whatever the fuck you want to.” In a smaller venue at a later hour, RUSSO would have had the whole crowd jumping in sync to the LA pop-punk’s possessive riffs.
Next up were the unmissable PINS. The Manchester three-piece treat the stage as if it was the tables and sofas at their very own house party, dancing with each other with boundless energy as they delivered intoxicating riffs and thundering empowerment tracks, liberating stiff crowd to let loose. Frontwoman Faith Holgate commanded the room like a snake-charmer, while guitarist Lois Macdonald and bassist Kyoko Swan supplied instrumentals that demanded your full attention and appreciation. The reverberation was so heavy that it felt as if the floor was about to fall through, swallowing the church into the matriarchal underworld of PINS.
After, the smoking area filled with talk of how PINS and RUSSO were some of the ‘best support acts’ punters had seen in a while. Yet, the anticipation for Black Honey was irrepressible.
The stage lights went down, making the church seem like a desolate dystopia. The crowd were buzzing in their boots, unsure of what to expect but completely enamoured regardless. The silhouettes of Black Honey descended onto the stage with humbled grace, kicking up dust that blended into the smoke-filled room. All negative feelings were blown away with the cobwebs as the band lurched into ‘I Only Hurt The Ones I Love’, an addictive anthem that blends elements of Black Honey’s earlier music with a new refined allure. Their visionary style commands your attention, melting away half an hour in what feels like five explosive minutes. During ‘Somebody Better’, a moshpit the width of the room opened up, encouraged by frontwoman Izzy B. Phillips’ commands of “WIDERRR.”
Black Honey’s debut album was a long anticipated work, and seeing the almost sold out crowd letting go of all inhibitions to the four-piece’s sultry, bold anthems was a taste of what the Brighton band deserves. As an unsigned band, Black Honey are certainly four of the hardest workers in the game. They could have easily capitalised on the deserved hype that came with their first singles and EPs, yet they’ve patiently waited and produced an electric shock of an album that radiates the sheer genius of their vision.
Closing with ‘Blue Romance’, the four-piece departed from the stage and went straight to their merch stand to meet their fans and share mutual appreciation. Black Honey are certainly a band who are enigmatic, completely refreshing and entirely deserving of the promising future they’ve destined themselves for.
Words and Images by Meg Firth