Review / Black Honey @ Thekla


by Ellie Fernyhough, Psychology Student

Ellie Fernyhough reviews Black Honey's set at Thekla, supported by PINS and wytch elm.

Glittery banners adorn the stage when we board Thekla on a Saturday night for a lineup succinctly described by another banner, hanging from a keyboard: GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS. First up are wytch elm - an unsigned local band fronted by Caitlin Elliman.

wytch elm have gained attention in recent months and boast headline gigs in London as well as regular spots on home turf. Elliman’s defiantly effortless vocals float over fuzzy guitar; a gentle start to the gig (if you ignore the somewhat morbid subject matter of wytch elm’s lyrics).

Before wytch elm have even packed away their instruments, the space has filled to capacity in anticipation of Manchester all-girl group PINS. I move to the balcony to watch as even in heeled boots can’t see over the masses to the stage - and I might already be getting too old for a mosh pit anyway.

PINS’ newest single 'Serve The Rich' has already sold out on 7”, and vinyl copies of their EP Bad Thing fly out from the merch stand throughout the night. It is easy to understand why after their set, a throbbing crescendo of girl power and basslines, somewhere between indie, rock and punk.

Singer Faith Vern is charismatic and shamelessly sexy, prowling the stage in leather and dramatic heels proclaiming “bad girls do it better / bad girls forever”. The band’s performance is as polished as their style, all looking like and sounding like a more fashion-conscious rebirth of nineties garage rock. In the finale of their set, Vern joins the crowd to admire her bandmates’ performance, arm around a star-struck fan.

Black Honey are heard before they’re seen. The opening notes of 'I Only Hurt The Ones I Love' echoe through the boat, whipping up a storm of excitement. Izzy B walks on stage in a jacket resembling a multicoloured Cruella de Ville costume. Considering it’s the first night of their debut album tour, the band are calm, and fire out a series of songs immaculately before taking a moment to address the feverish mass of fans in front of them - 'Crowded City', announced as their next single, is a polished, poppy anthem with added sparkle from Chris Ostler’s squalling riffs.

Old release 'Corrine' is received with the kind of enthusiasm demonstrative of a passionate fan base, who Black Honey are obviously incredibly grateful for; they’re a group just beginning to break into the mainstream, with a great deal of authenticity which makes them instantly likeable.

The night draws to a close with repeated thank you speeches from Izzy B, who runs straight over to the merch stall to meet audience members as if this is the most important part of the evening for her. She’s still there when I leave half an hour later.

Featured Image: Epigram / Ellie Fernyhough

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