WORDS BY DANIELLE JEFFERY / IMAGES BY PAUL DIXON
Arriving at the Iconic Nottingham Venue, Rock City, the line of queueing fans stretched right around the Venue, all excited for the nights performance from Los Angeles band, Dirty Honey. Formed in 2017, then band is singer Marc LaBelle, guitarist John Notto, bassist Justin Smolian, and drummer Corey Coverstone.
Dirty Honey stride on stage to tumultuous applause, there are plenty of new fans here after seeing them perform at Leicestershire U.K. Download Festival in June. The Gig opens with drummer Corey caressing his drums before the band weave into action for their huge number ‘Gypsy’ from the 2021 Album ‘Dirty Honey’. Plenty of hands go into the air and when it reaches the chorus everyone is singing along, an obvious fan favourite. Dirty Honey’s first Gig at Rock City has kicked off to an energetic start, a glimpse of what’s in store for the rest of the set.
This effortlessly cool band slide into the next song, ‘Break You’. It’s during this song that the absolute power of lead singer Marc LaBelle’s voice is witnessed. Myself, and I am sure others in the crowd at one point had goosebumps during this song. LaBelle’s voice has such an amazing range, holding up even to the top end and high notes.
The crowd are truly getting into the ‘Dirty Honey’ vibe and are enjoying the energy and talent they are all seeing on stage. LaBelle address the crowd with ‘As soon as I got to this town, I knew we were gunna have a good time’. They continued their visually exciting performance with ‘Heartbreaker’. All of the songs throughout the gig were incredibly catchy, with perfectly structured lines in the choruses hooking you into each song. They have the feel of 80’s rock with a contemporary update to the sound. Blues Rock influences in the music are apparent, with some songs having a Led Zepplin sort of feel. After The Wire’ they announce that ‘it’s time to start dancing ya’ll!’and dive into ‘tied up’a fun, suggestive number which fits the bands name perfectly.
During ‘California Dreamin’’ bassist Justin Smolian started to have some fun with the crowd, jumping down from the stage, playing right up to the barriers and the crowd were loving the involvement. The tempo slowed for ‘Another Last Time’, a true power Ballad, in LaBelle’s words ‘about a relationship you just can’t get out of’. Beautiful lyrics, a powerful voice behind those words and a well timed soulful chord progression from the lead guitarist made the performance of ‘Another Last Time’ a highlight of the night.
Back to the high octane music for the last two songs, ‘When I’m Gone’ and ‘Rolling 7’s’ and the band go all out, Jumping towards to crowd, longer riffs, and amazing vocals. The band seamlessly follow each other’s lead, playing with the crowd as the crescendo to the finale builds. LaBelle finishes with a ‘thanks for having us’ and a showcase of his fantastic vocals. The band groups together for a bow to the crowd, as they are met with even more applause and praise.
After the gig, I spoke to a couple of fans wearing Dirty Honey T-shirts. One couple have been following the band and visit the United States often but were yet to see them live until they came to the U.K. They had nothing but praise for Dirty Honey, saying that LaBelle’s vocals are ‘amazing’. The smiles on the fans faces showed that you he band lives up to every expectation and more. Andy Bailey a fan from Yorkshire was equally blown away by the performance. As was I. The entire set was brilliantly curated and the music that Dirty Honey creates is fun, catchy and with a whole lot of talent.
1) Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation (AC/DC)
3) Break you
5) The Wire
6) Tied up
7) California Dreamin’
8) Another Last Time
9) When I’m Gone
10) Rolling 7s
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