After releasing a seemingly impossibly perfect second album, Honeyblood complete 2016 with a triumphant homecoming show.
The Honeyblood partnership of Stina Tweeddale and Cat Myers take to the stage to the eerie chanting of “never die, never die” and launch straight into the thunderous, and magical, Ready For The Magic. Then they launch into Love Is A Disease – a live favourite that now appears on the new album – before Myers disappears off stage for a seemingly impromptu beer. This allows Sophie Galpin – the drummer in stunning support band PINS, who happens to look similar to Myers – to take a seat behind the drums and stand in for a roaring rendition of the deliciously dark “old song” Choker.
The “drum twin” swap is an in-joke for the fans that follow the band on Twitter and is a demonstration of a new playfulness in their live performance, along with hastily made-up songs about people on their crew. Having first seen Honeyblood live when they graced the stage at Rough Trade East to promote their eponymous debut album, while Shona McVicar was still drumming in the band, I watched them impress musically but seemingly lack confidence. Then there was the bedding in period, where Tweeddale had full command of the stage while Myers learnt the ropes as the new drummer. With an album written together under their belt and the bond between them now cemented, they are connecting with their audience and the response they receive is predictably full of adoration. People on the front row standing before Myers’ drum kit even insist on counting them in for songs like Gangs. It’s clear that Honeyblood now rule the room.
I have fallen further in love with the new album on each listen, so it’s a pleasure to hear new songs like Justine, Misery Queen and Walking At Midnight cranked up. The sound produced by this duo is impressive. With the addition of new band member Sebastian – the bass controlled by Myers’ drumming – they retain the vast depths and soaring highs of the album. The pop perfection of Hey, Stellar is given a bit of extra growl but doesn’t lose any of its melodic charm. The swooning ballad Cruel also reverberates powerfully through the venue, inducing a wave of swaying bodies in the crowd. On Sister Wolf, Tweeddale’s impressive vocal range is on display with the wonderfully clever, howling chorus taking her to new heights.
With the crowd getting sweaty, the raucous rock of Sea Hearts and the blistering pace of All Dragged Up up the tempo before we’re told that we’re being filmed for the new video of Babes Never Die. The title track from the new album gets the frenzied response you’d expect in the front half of the room and it feels impossible to resist dancing at this point. After ignoring the temptation of the usual encore shenanigans, they round off a sublime set with the sing – or shout – along of old singles Super Rat and Killer Bangs.
Tweeddale is obviously thrilled to be headlining for a larger crowd, saying: “The last set we played in Glasgow was the Hug And Pint guys, that’s a hundred people!”. It’s easy to underestimate the connection you can feel to a band when you’ve been following them since the early days. There is something about watching them develop – sharing the highs and the lows – that provides feelings of pride and joy when you notice that others are seeing what you saw in them. It’s a satisfying and warm sensation that I feel as I watch Honeyblood tonight.
The duo have been welcomed back as heroines by an adoring hometown crowd, and rightly so, after a victorious second album in Babes Never Die and an all-conquering set tonight. Long live Honeyblood.
Ready For The Magic
Love Is A Disease
Justine, Misery Queen
Walking At Midnight
All Dragged Up
Babes Never Die