Live Review: Honeyblood – London

Honeyblood

Koko, London, 16th June 2016

Words: Leander Hobbs

Photos: Jane Jimenez

It’s Friday night and an unearthly hush falls over the audience at the Koko Club, London. Eerie little voices float disjointedly from the sound system and flashing lights like laser beams announce the arrival of Honeyblood for their biggest headline show to date.  A slightly nervous Stina Tweeddale and Cat Myer’s take the stage and the pyrotechnics begin.  

2017 has probably been Honeyblood’s best year to date. The Scottish duo, who have only been together a short five years, have gone from support act to centre stage in a bid to bring forth a feminist dystopia built on scuzzy-sweet grunge and, judging by the sweat pouring off Myers as she smashes out Justine, Misery Queen, a lot of elbow grease! 

There appears to be a real appetite at the moment for feminine punk-pop-rock (delete as appropriate) with young all-female bands like HoneybloodThe Big Moon, Goat Girl, Dream Wife and Girl Ray picking up the mantle, albeit with a slightly softer touch, from the likes of Sleater-KinneyThe Slits and more recently War Paint and the Savages; grrl power with none of the zig-a-zig-a but plenty of spice.  If Honeyblood’s performance at Koko is anything to go by then all-female bands still have the power to surprise, flip expectations and leave the audience wanting more.  

The pair romped their way through Walking At MidnightSea Hearts and Hey, Stellar with barely a pause for breath. Their energy was impressive; taking the music further and higher than even the last time I saw them.  It was clear that the pressure of performing to such a large audience with no headliner to hide behind only acted as an accelerant to Tweeddale and Myer’s flamboyant feminine command.  

In fact, there was a lot to like about the performance; Honeyblood have great stage presence and enough good songs, mostly lifted from their current album Babes Never Die, to get the crowd whipped up.  Unfortunately, the acoustics on the night let the pair down and that was a real shame because they had clearly got the rest of it right with an electric light show and accompanying, almost feral visuals that elevated each song beyond the brilliance of the original recording. 

Acoustics aside, the pair pulled off a powerful set that wandered from riotous to emotional with plenty of mean guitar riffs, venomous vocals and on-stage banter. 

It is both challenging and courageous to strike out on your own, particularly having opened for the likes of the Foo Fighters where genius is guaranteed. Tonight, however, Honeyblood have proven that despite technical setbacks and a few onstage nerves they are more than ready and strong enough to go it alone 

 

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