Words & Images by Shirin Hodgson-Watt
Not even a traffic diversion that added a good 15 miles to the journey via a bizarre loop to Bodmin (but is there any other kind?) could dampen my enthusiasm for this gig, Honey’s first proper outing since front goddess Sarah produced the truly scrumptious Lorelei Presley, nor could the sterling efforts by the venue to reduce the most gig hardened photographer to frantic tears via the medium of arches directly in front of the performance area and lights that alternated solely and belligerently between blue and my new nemesis, the source of my latest anxiety tic, magenta. Nerves were soothed upon arrival by the realisation that there were actual sofas near the ‘stage’ (more sofas in venues, please, thank you in advance), and then silenced by flaxen vision in sparkles Sarah wafting over bearing chips and t-shirts. Only a proper pot of tea could have improved the ambience, frankly.
Kicking off this little noise fest were Swansong. Not a band I can pretend I’m too familiar with, but if they looked a little ill at ease – unnecessarily – initially, they packed a solid punch, mining a familiar and always-rich Hole-esque seam without losing their inherent instinct for actual tunes. ‘Circles’ has been added to my ever growing album shopping list; ah, I’ll get there. Eventually.
After years of attending shows alone, the gigs I’ve found myself photographing recently feel like frequent mini Cornish rock royalty reunions. This time, members of Godstone and Dave Evans from King Creature were in attendance, making it (for me) an unexpectedly social occasion. I’m perhaps not quite over feeling like everyone’s eccentric proud auntie yet, but I’m endeavouring to inhabit the role with gusto. The music scene here these days seems to be genuinely supportive, inclusive and encouraging, and I only wish it had been this way when I was younger (although, as now, Tywardreath appeared then to be the perplexing hub of all things metal, given I was once invited to join a Tywardreath-based female death metal band when I was 15. I don’t think I ever quite had an appropriate vocal tone, to be fair).
Honey were one of those bands I wanted to see for ages before I actually did, and this was still only the second full show I’ve attended (if you discount Sarah’s knockout allstar baby shower, when representatives of everyone from Bastard to The Eyelids and King Creature stepped up to offer Sarah the unique chance to experience a Honey performance for herself. That love and kindness thing again). I’ll unashamedly admit I adore them, with a family tree branching once more from the likes of Hole robustly centre stage (which is a gold star from me, but the reasons for this are for a whole other essay), with hook flooded memorable melodies (even the new songs stay with you) strung with fuzzed up distortion and whisper-to-a-scream vocals, meshed with the rock solid rhythm section of Tyler and one woman hair maelstrom, Ele. Honey are a blast, a whirlwind of sequins and bare feet, combat boots and cocktail dresses; a musical vitamin drip of raw, visceral energy encased in a flurry of pink glitter and metaphorical marabou.