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Review by Steph Taylor.
Oh, what fun I had tonight!
I saw a band play a gig, interact with the audience, fool around on stage, and enjoy themselves! During these dark days of naked aggression or deep depression in music, this Honeycrack gig stood out like a big thing in the middle of a crowd of wee things!
Honeycrack are the band formed by CJ and Willie after they left The WiLDHEARTS. Each of these two frontmen bring their own particular style to Honeycrack. CJ's love of crunchy riffs and time-changes that was so evident in the early WiLDHEARTS EPs and first album is still a major feature with Honeycrack, but Willie's love of a good tune and immaculate pop sensibilites stops Honeycrack from sounding like a copy of the ex-band. In addition to these two major themes, the rest of the band add small but vital elements to the overall sound. The result is a 3 guitar band singing in 4 or 5 part harmony over rhythms that are equal parts frenetic, laid-back and groovy!
The band really went for it tonight. I have seen Honeycrack a total of 6 times in the past year, and this was their best performance yet. They are very tight, obviously the product of playing so often in so short a time. What was more obvious, though, and more heartening, was the fact that all of the band seem happy to move around on the stage now. Previously, it had been left to Willie to provide the focal point for the audience. Not that this is a bad thing in itself, as Willie is one of life's natural frontmen, but it's good to see the other 3 frontmen joining in the fun!
They kicked off, as usual, with first single "King Of Misery", a well paced rocker which seems to take a major swipe at someone close to CJ and Willie! This leads straight into the off-beat rhythms of "No, Please Don't" and the angry rant that is "Powerless". Don't let the title of this one fool you. It is an incredibly powerful song with some pretty serious lyrics. Next up is the new single, due out on Feb. 12th, called "Go Away".
A couple of newies follow this; "Gun" and "The Genius Is Loose". "The Genius.." is particularly impressive. But almost before it is finished, the band have kicked into their heaviest romp; "5 Minutes". It sparked some frenzied moshing from the youngsters standing stage right, at least! "If I had a Life", written by other guitarist Mark McRae, was given its first ever live airing, and was treated like an old friend due to it being one of the extra tracks on the last single. Next up was the incredibly groovy "Good, Good Feeling". I asked CJ about this song, amd he says it hasn't changed since day one, but I don't believe him! Tonight's version is at least the 3rd that I've heard. Honest.
The set started to head towards its climax with the introduction of the second (and first widely available) single. Willie had a friendly swipe at the portion of the audience who 'only knew one song' before launching into it - and indeed at least 50% the audience were new faces tonight. What is an encouraging sign is the wide cross-section of the rock spectrum that is represented in the fan base. Honeycrack are not a narrow, one dimensional band.
Set closers "I Hate Myself (And Everybody Else)" and "Animals" were, as usual, excellent. Both choruses stick in your mind long after the show is over. After a brief interval, the band return for a run through of oldie "Samantha Pope" and the Lennon/McCartney number "Hey, Bulldog". Personally, I think Samantha Pope is an incredible song that should be a single sometime soon, but who am I? [GRIN]
If you live in the UK, go and see Honeycrack on this tour. You will enjoy yourself immensely. Willie is a star in the making (at last, after all these years) and deserves your adulation! If you live elsewhere, buy the album on import when it's released in the Spring.
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