Black Honey at Think Tank featuring Johnny Lloyd, Chartreuse and Gallery Circus
Black Honey hit the Think Tank hard in Newcastle, quickly arousing the crowd into a frenzy. Opening with the Misirlou-esque Spinning Wheel showed the strengths of Black Honey and it was in no doubt that as soon as the energy picked up, the audience would follow. Izzy Baxter instantly had a connection with the audience and the reaction was for the vigour of both the band and the audience to reach ridiculous levels. The rest of the songs followed suit, hard-hitting psychedelic indie anthem after hard-hitting psychedelic indie anthem. Sleep Forever was a clear favourite with the fans receiving one of the best receptions of the night. The almost 60s-western start dissolving into Baxter’s softer psychedelic choruses allowed for a crescendo towards the end that had even the most stoic audience members wanting to be part of it all. Even the unreleased tracks that were new to the crowd kept the same energy amongst the crowd and kept everyone going until the highlight of the night: Corrine. Black Honey’s latest track was the height of the band’s interaction with the crowd, managing to top both Spinning Wheel and Sleep Forever. It was no surprise that at the end of the show, the audience stormed the stage and joined the bands with affectionate hugs and selfies. Black Honey are on track to be one of the UK’s most revered bands if they continue with their energy and unique blend of styles. Overall, they put on one hell of a show and right deserve any praises that come their way.
Johnny Lloyd was a fitting support for such a show, appearing last out of the supports. Lloyd’s anthemic indie tunes have put him in the spotlight ever since his first single with Tribes over 4 years ago. He continued with this into his solo career and his show was riddled with indie anthems that the crowd loved. From his new track, Hello Death, to some older releases, Happy Humans and Pilgrims, to some unreleased material, Lloyd showed his songwriting prowess. His ability to produce indie rock tracks of the calibre of Mystery Jets or Pixies has reaffirmed my thoughts that he is one of the UK’s best songwriters since the Britpop times of Oasis and Blur. On stage he produced a show as good as most that I’ve seen and although it lacked the energy of Black Honey, his tracks had an atmosphere that reverberated through the crowd. He also announced his headline tour in May on stage, and I’d struggle to think of any audience member who wouldn’t consider a second Johnny Lloyd show.
Gallery Circus was the first support of the night, providing their slightly more common indie vibes to a crowd that was still arriving. The duo managed to provide a constant, albeit kind of bland, stream of decent vocals and music for a full set. Although I can’t have much criticism for their music, it left me largely not too fussed and was probably the most forgetful performance of the night. Their newest track, Hollywood Drip, was a highlight of the set. The calibre of the night was so high with Chartreuse, Johnny Lloyd and Black Honey that their set consisting of vocals, one guitar and a set of drums failed to make much of an impact. Nonetheless, they showed enough potential to warrant them of their BBC Introducing performance at Glastonbury 2014.
Chartreuse were a breath of fresh air and definitely caught my ear with their unique blend of atmospheric indie vibes, with elements from smooth jazz and soul drifting in and out of their almost XX like vocals. After the previous set of Gallery Circus, Chartreuse definitely applied their own sound onto the audience and certainly perked some ears on their way through the set. I hope to see some more music released by them; they’ve toured extensively around the UK supporting numerous bands and are starting to gain a solid fan-base. After that performance at Think Tank, they’ve definitely found a new fan with me.
Overall, the night definitely belonged to Black Honey and their innate ability to get a crowd going will be an asset in the future. Johnny Lloyd continued to show his brilliant ability as a musician and, despite Gallery Circus not particularly impressing, a new band to watch has been found with Chartreuse.