The Bootleg Theater. Until the other night, I’d only been to the art gallery side for Incubus front man Brandon Boyd’s artwork. Last night however, was the 3rd night of residency for growing Country group, HoneyHoney.
But I can’t continue without talking about the two bands that opened for them: Yellow Red Sparks, and The Dead Trees.
Yellow Red Sparks had a lot going on, with 3 musicians spanning 7 instruments. The most appealing for me however, was the smooth round sounds of the standup bass played by Sarah Nishikawa. She was on quadruple duty last night, playing the piano, harmonica, and banjo as well. The drums by Goldy were a solid country feel, with vocals from Joshua Hanson reminding me a lot of Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull.
The Dead Trees were a different animal than what I expected. With more of a more upbeat, rock and roll feel, their high energy songs swayed the crowd from side to side. The band is comprised of Matthew Borg on the guitar, with Mike Cummings also on axe, with vocals to match. Rounding out the group, Noah Rubin on drums, with Tad Dahlhoff on the bass (both of them provided additional vocals too). There was a fifth gentleman as well on stage, whose name is unknown (until someone corrects us).
But let’s talk about HoneyHoney. This wasn’t my first time seeing these majestic musicians. At a benefit at the Ford Theater last year, we were witnesses to California Country at its finest. From the beautiful beaches of Venice, this twangy duo tells bluegrass tales, with sounds that remind me of The Civil Wars, but with a bigger wave of energy about them. Also like The Civil Wars, people think the duo are an item, but alas, this isn’t true.
This is a group that you would expect to see at a dive bar in the South, but has made the genre accessible to just about anywhere. Suzanne Santo sings with her beautiful wide smile, on her banjo and violin (or fiddle…not sure where the cutoff would be), while the ruggedly handsome Ben Jaffe strums away with Rose-stitch graphics on his shirt.
The first thing you feel with HoneyHoney, is that not only are they happy to be up there stomping their feet with you, but they really make you feel like they are grateful for their success and opportunities. When taking time to joke around about life on stage without making it something that’s rehearsed, it shows you the true nature and character of people. Also, it makes for a hell of a live show.
HoneyHoney is gearing up to tour all over this great country, so feel free to stop in and check them out!
Until next time my friends,