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Live Review and Photo Gallery – Dirty Honey at Bottom Lounge

| February 15, 2020

Dirty Honey

Tuesday, February 11

Bottom Lounge, Chicago

For the past year, some music industry folks have been working themselves into a piranha-like frenzy over L.A. blues-rock quartet Dirty Honey. Formed in 2017, the band features singer Marc Labelle, guitarist John Notto, bassist Justin Smolian, and drummer Corey Coverstone. The buzz surrounding the band is heightened in part because they are the only unsigned band to have topped Billboard’s Modern Rock Singles chart with “When I’m Gone.” Their self-titled debut EP is not even a year old. Despite their short time together, the band’s ability to grab opening slots on last year’s tours with The Who and Guns N’ Roses is a feat in itself. The question remains, “Do they live up to the hype?”

On their first headlining tour, Rolling 7s,” the band stopped at Bottom Lounge on February 11, so I decided to check them out firsthand. I gave them a good listen via YouTube and immediately noticed similarities to another “breakout” band, Greta Van Fleet. The observation is not to say that the original sounds of these two bands are the same, but there is most definitely a throw-back vibe that each of these bands encompasses. While it can indeed be said that Greta Van Fleet sounds a lot like Led Zeppelin, it is crystal clear that Dirty Honey is heavily influenced by a combination of Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, and Jackyl. Mix the sounds of all those high-profile bands and add the bluesy undertones of The Black Crowes, and there you have it – Dirty Honey.

The set began with “Scars,” a song that starts quite subtly and slowly explodes into a low-end guitar and bass-driven riff that sounded eerily similar to that of any “standard” Black Sabbath tune. It took only a matter of seconds for the crowd at Bottom Lounge to enthusiastically show their appreciation when Labelle appeared on stage and began belting out the powerful and deep-meaning lyrics of the song, channeling his inner Axl Rose. Naturally, as the set progressed, the energy level in the room increased, not only with the band but within the entire venue. The excitement became especially palpable when the group began playing “When I’m Gone, likely because this is the hit single that reached the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart.

Performing nearly their entire debut album, the set ended with “Rolling 7s.” As the song began, I was convinced they were covering AC/DC’s “Have a Drink on Me,” but this was not the case. Instead, the song took a turn and soon flooded into the bluesy aspects of which Dirty Honey has successfully honed into their rock ‘n roll style. The tune is incredibly catchy and high-energy. It also seems to be the only song in which Smolian and Notto participate in the vocal duties, intermittently chiming in on the chorus, “When you need a little lovin’!”  To say that the crowd was pleased is an understatement, and it goes without saying that Dirty Honey has lived up to the hype. Odds are they’ll be able to sustain that momentum into 2020.

Set List:

1. Scars
2. Break you
3. Fire Away
4. The Wire
5. Heartbreaker
6. Down the Road
7. Tied Up
8. Last Child (Aerosmith cover)
9. When I’m Gone
10. Rolling 7s
Photos and review by Jenafur Schlangen

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Category: Featured, IE Photo Gallery, Live Reviews

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