Dirty Honey, with Royale Lynn, Graced the Georgia Theatre Stage in Athens, Georgia, on Saturday, May 11, 2024


The historic Georgia Theatre in downtown Athens, Georgia, played host to Los Angeles rockers Dirty Honey on a beautiful Saturday night in the South. Fresh off headlining shows across the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia, Dirty Honey returned to Georgia, this time with “punktry” singer/songwriter Royale Lynn in support. With a storied property history that dates back to the early 1900s, the 1,000-plus capacity Georgia Theatre opened its doors as a live music venue back in 1978 and has entertained national acts including the B-52s, The Police, the Dave Matthews Band, and Kenny Chesney.

Kicking off the night at precisely 8:00pm was Nashville-based Royale Lynn, a self-described “metal head who grew up in the country.” Backed by Bryan Karijanian (guitar), Caleb Sgambato (drums), and Shane Smith (bass), Lynn blasted through an energetic, 30-minute set that showcased her strong vocal range and punchy, “countrycore” songwriting talent that earned her supporting slots in 2023 with major artists including Luke Combs, Eli Young Band, and Jerrod Niemann.

Songs like “Evil” and “Black Magic,” which Lynn commented was her Evanescence-style tune, stood out to me, but the final two tracks she performed justified all the buzz Lynn has been receiving. First up was her recently released tune “Death Wish,” co-written with none other than Danny Worsnop, largely known as the lead vocalist of Asking Alexandria, which was then followed by “Six Feet Deep,” a song that blew up across social media and has garnered millions of streams. Athens was actually a roadtrip from Atlanta for me, so hopefully I will get the chance to catch Royale Lynn again when she comes to town and plays The Masquerade on Sunday, June 23rd.


Royale Lynn Band:

Royale Lynn – Lead vocals
Bryan Karijanian – Guitar
Caleb Sgambato – Drums
Shane Smith – bass



Following a 30-minute equipment turn, the large Dirty Honey logo hung above Jaydon Bean’s drum riser was lit up shortly after 9:00pm as the venue lights went dark. With Bean taking his place behind his kit, John Notto (guitar), Justin Smolian (bass), and singer Marc LaBelle took to the stage and kicked off their night with the title track from their latest album release, “Can’t Find the Brakes.” LaBelle, donning his signature black hat and shades, engaged with the crowd pressed up against the stage, many of which I noticed were already sporting Dirty Honey t-shirts when they came through the doors earlier in the night.

This was my third Dirty Honey show over the past two years, and perhaps the old adage of “third time’s a charm” would be an appropriate descriptor. This band is just so impressive, continuing to mature both in their live showmanship and overall stage production. Notto’s dirty, classic-rock-influenced guitar tone is the perfect compliment to LaBelle’s vocal range, which I have described in the past as an auditory journey from sinful to soulful. Early set songs like “California Dreamin’,” “Heartbreaker,” and “Scars” highlight the depth of Dirty Honey’s talents. In fact, watching the show from Smolian’s side of the stage for the first time gave me a new appreciation for how much soul and swagger he injects into their songs.

With LaBelle aware that Athens was home to the University of Georgia and that it was graduation weekend, he dedicated the ballad “Coming Home (Ballad of the Shire)” to the recent graduates in the audience. He jokingly warned them that it was “now time to pay the rent” and he was dedicating the song to them because “they were all going to be moving home, or moving to Alabama, which was the only place I (LaBelle) could afford a home.” That was immediately followed by an acoustic cover version of “Honky Tonk Woman” by The Rolling Stones.

Returning to their full electric sound with both “Satisfied” and “The Wire,” Dirty Honey then delivered back-to-back energetic performances of two distinctive tunes from their catalog in “Another Last Time,” the final track off their self-titled 2021 album, and “When I’m Gone,” which hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart back in 2019, making them the first unsigned band in music history to reach that achievement.

After a short break off stage, Dirty Honey returned to perform a 3-song encore which began with the slower paced “Alright” from Can’t Find The Brakes (2023). The band then punched everyone in their eardrums with the blistering, sing-along tunes “Won’t Take Me Alive,” followed by arguably their most well-known song from their 2019 self-titled EP, “Rolling 7s.” It was an exhausting end to an amazing display from one of today’s modern rock and roll torchbearers.

This leg of Dirty Honey’s Can’t Find the Brakes Tour rolls on for another week, wrapping up at the Sonic Temple Art & Music Festival in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday, May 17th. The band will then take a small break, before picking up summer dates starting at Rock Fest, in Cadott, Wisconsin, on Thursday, July 18th.


Dirty Honey:

Marc LaBelle – Vocals
John Notto – Guitars
Justin Smolian – Bass
Jaydon Bean – Drums




1.) Can’t Find the Brakes
2.) California Dreamin’
3.) Heartbreaker
4.) Get a Little High
5.) Scars
6.) Dirty Mind
7.) Tied Up
8.) Coming Home (Ballad of the Shire)
9.) Honky Tonk Women (The Rolling Stones cover)
10.) Satisfied
11.) Let’s Go Crazy (Prince cover) – *listed on paper but didn’t play
12.) The Wire
13.) Another Last Time
14.) When I’m Gone

15.) You Make It All Right
16.) Won’t Take Me Alive
17.) Rolling 7s






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