Photography & Show Review: Kail Rose

I was first introduced to Dirty Honey while sitting backstage with fellow rockers, Blacktop Mojo. As I customarily do, I asked my artist friends for new music recommendations – who had they seen on their tours that was new, upcoming and totally worth checking out? Unanimously, they answered “Dirty Honey.”

On my way home, I found a couple of their songs on Spotify and clicked play. They were right to recommend them – energetic rock reminiscent of Zeppelin and Aerosmith, with incredible vocals and catchy lyrics. This was everything a hit was made of. I followed, kept them on my playlist (I highly recommend adding When I’m Gone to your workout playlist) and looked forward to seeing them live as soon as possible.

I lucked out at Exit 111 Festival, just a few months later; a Tennessee rock festival I was already scheduled to photograph. Commanding a massive mid-afternoon crowd, their high-energy set and explosive vocals bought them a great number of new fans. Word on the street; Dirty Honey was the hot new band on the 111 lineup. Crowds packed early on, and the front row was buzzing with die-hard fans, homemade signs and more than a few DH shirts and hats. I later caught the band in the media lounge for a quick chat. It was apparent that despite being new to the scene, they were seasoned professionals and wholly committed to their music.

“The tracks on Dirty Honey bang with the kind of organic grit that could bring hard rock back to the mainstream, which would be an amazingly good thing. The New Classic Rock movement is building up steam and Dirty Honey is in an excellent position to help shape its leading edge.” – Mike O’Cull, Rock and Blues Muse

Hailing from Los Angeles, the band consists of singer Marc Labelle, guitarist John Notto, bassist Justin Smolian, and drummer Corey Coverstone. The band formed only very recently, in 2017, but has very quickly gained notoriety and a sizeable, enthusiastic fanbase in the rock genre. They self-released a self-titled EP in March of 2019. Their single When I’m Gone quickly topped the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart, making them the very first unsigned band to achieve such accolades. 

“For years, the term ‘saviors of rock and roll’ has been handed out too easily, with very few in recent years, barring Rival Sons, getting anywhere close. But, with the backing Dirty Honey have from established stars and iconic producers, a major label is sure to come calling soon. If that happens, the potential of this band is infinite.” – Adam Keys, Rush on Rock

I recently caught their January show at The Parish Austin, just one of their multi-city US tour dates. They’d enticed a formidable crowd. I quickly learned that Dirty Honey has quickly amassed a group of hardcore fans – many of which had been travelling along, city-to-city, to catch more than one show. All were clad in DH merch, and could barely contain their excitement. Their Friday evening show kicked off with Scars, a bluesy, groovy tune, and quickly accelerated through Break You to hit Fire Away. The ten-song set was over before we knew it, but not before a flawless rendition of Aerosmith’s Last Child (Marc sure can hit those delicious notes), wrapping with When I’m Gone and Rolling 7’s.

As we left the venue, I overheard several parties commenting on how excited they were to hit their Dallas show the very next day. Others commented that they were prepared to travel up to Pryor, OK for their Rocklahoma festival set May 22-24. We predict big things for these guys – and rightfully so. The talent is humbling, and their energy and prowess on stage is unmatched. If you haven’t taken a quick listen, we highly recommend you do. Check out their upcoming tour schedule here.

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