Dirty Honey finally came to Hard Rock Live in Orlando, Florida on April 10, 2022. This tour had been rescheduled from the original date of February 11, 2022. The co-headlining Young Guns Tour featuring Dirty Honey with new sensation Wolfgang Van Halen, or Mammoth WVH was the ticket to have in town. But, as the date crept closer, another wrinkle was bestowed on ticket holders. Mammoth WVH cancelled the last six stops of the tour due to Covid rearing up in their camp. Dirty Honey decided to persevere and finish out the last six dates. They brought on the band Naked Gypsy Queens to support them. The option to refund tickets was given by Dirty Honey for those hell bent on sitting out this show because Wolfgang had to terminate his tour. Those that attended the show witnessed one of the finest Dirty Honey shows I have ever seen. This is my eighth show to date.
The first time I saw the band was back in 2019, and I was floored by their performance. They had just hit number one on The Billboard 100 with their single “When I’m Gone”. As a side note, they are the only band in history to achieve a Billboard number one single without being signed to a record label! What I witnessed at The House of Blues Orlando on October 24, 2019 was unprecedented as they hit the stage with only six songs and proceeded to perform at the level of Aerosmith. They had a similar sound to the early Black Crowes. Needless to say, being intrigued was an understatement. Wolfgang performing would have been great as I love his initial album release from 2021, Mammoth WVH. But, I traveled 2,000 miles to Sturgis to cover Dirty Honey in 2020 and also drove six hours (420 miles) to cover them in Destin, Florida last year. I wasn’t missing this show. I can catch Mammoth WVH another time.
The general admission audience was slow to file into the venue, so it was hard to gauge early on what the size of the crowd would be. Knowing that some fans forgo opening bands, the crowd size at the 8:00pm start time resembled what might be seen in a high school auditorium. As I have mentioned, opening bands just might surprise you, so you want to be on time! Naked Gypsy Queens from Nashville, Tennessee is one of those bands. They may be raw and a bit rough around the edges, but they made the best of it. They brought a great performance to the stage. Also, being added to the Young Guns Tour was perfect timing to support the band’s debut EP, Georgiana.
Singer and guitarist Chris Attigliato was once quoted as saying, “Our job is to bring the Friday night, you have to get on stage and put up a fight. Mediocrity is eating you alive every night if you don’t.”
Naked Gypsy Queens brought it on on a Sunday night in Orlando, Florida, and their gritty riff driven rock n roll was a perfect for opening for Dirty Honey!
Chris Attigliato – Vocals/Guitar
Cade Pickering – Guitar
Bo Howard – Bass
Landon Herring – Drums
After the stage was cleared and reset, the lights dropped at about 9:14pm, and the photographers filed into the pit. Notto, Smolian and Coverstone came on stage under low light. The lights came up as Labelle walked up to center stage and Dirty Honey started the set with “California Dreaming”. The audience, who had doubled in size on the floor, just exploded with applause. Without a break, the heavy riffed song, “Break You”, was next. The most memorable part of the song was LaBelle holding a note and finishing it off an octave higher. I don’t recall ever seeing him highlight his vocals in this fashion in prior shows. It really was kick ass! After a bit of banter with the crowd, the band played “Heartbreaker” and then “The Wire”. John Notto was just on fire ripping his starburst Les Paul to shreds on each number. A side note: I believe he played the entire show with the same guitar. That is something that is very rare these days.
The next song in the show was “Scars”which has been left off of the set lists during the last three shows I covered. With powerful, heavy guitar riffs in a bluesy fashion, “Scars” is one of my favorite Dirty Honey songs. The show proceeded and at one point Marc made a comment on how he likes to come to Florida because of friends and family. He introduced John’s father in the audience, then his mother and her husband. The crowd gave them a warm welcome. Then he mentioned it was time to play his mother’s favorite song, “Gypsy”.
The band next covered Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy”. After the song, Marc asked the crowd to help them get another Number One Billboard hit by calling the local radio station, WJRR, to get airtime for “Another Last Time”, a ballad that rightfully deserves airplay.
The highlight of the show was when Marc took a break off stage and each band member took the spotlight to showcase their abilities. First up was Justin Smolian with a badass bass solo that went a little under three minutes. The last minute or so was played predominately on the “G” string. It really didn’t sound like a bass guitar at all because it was so high. Then Corey Coverstone highlighted his abilities for over two minutes just pounding the crap out of his drumheads. Lastly, John played for almost five minutes showing his chops. Incredibly, Notto played the intro for “Ten Years Gone” by Led Zeppelin off the Physical Graffiti album. He played it so well that I wouldn’t be surprised if the band will cover that song one day. We know LaBelle definitely has the vocals to pull it off wonderfully. I guess one can only hope.
The night ended with the band’s two power hits, the Billboard #1 song “When I’m Gone,” and my all-time favorite “Rolling 7’s”. By the reaction of the crowd as they sang along with Marc, I am not alone as it appears it was the consensus crowd favorite of the show!
After the initial show I covered in 2019, Dirty Honey started out 2020 on a headlining tour. This band was about to take the United States by fire. Unfortunately, the landscape changed and sent Dirty Honey home because of the pandemic. Late in 2020 they headlined on the main stage at the Full Throttle Saloon. The Sturgis Motorcycle rally was their last appearance of the year. They didn’t sit idle as they took the time to record their debut self-titled album. In 2021 they made an appearance in the Florida panhandle as a headliner at Club LA in Destin, Florida. Two months later they were opening for the Black Crowes on the Shake Your Money Maker Tour. What a great combination and a great show which came to Central Florida in September of 2021. In October they performed in two Central Florida festivals which I was fortunate to cover a week apart. Things are definitely heating back up for this great band. Next month they are off on their first European tour.
I have seen a lot of bands in my 60 plus years. I haven’t been this excited to see a band that has it all, and in my opinion will go to the top of worldwide fame for a very long time. They are the real deal, and if you haven’t seen Dirty Honey yet, you are missing out on the best rock-n-roll produced in the past 30 years!
Marc LaBelle – Lead Vocals
John Notto – Guitar
Justin Smolian – Bass Guitar
Corey Coverstone – Drums
1.) California Dreaming
2.) Break You
4.) The Wire
5.) Fire Away/Scars
6.) Take My Hand
7.) Tied Up
8.) Down The Road
10.) Let’s Go Crazy (Prince Cover)
11.) Another Last Time
12.) Bass Solo
13.) Drum Solo
14.) Guitar Solo
15.) When I’m Gone
16.) Rolling 7’s
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