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Gig Review: Dirty Honey, Stay Gold, Melbourne, 4 April 2024

Hailing from LA, Dirty Honey have been on a whirlwind since their inception in 2017. In their short time they have supported the likes of The Black Crowes, Guns N Roses, Alter Bridge and so many more huge artists. Their gruelling tour schedule has seen them with six weeks on tour, six weeks home since 2021. If that wasn’t enough, they have just released their sophomore album “Cant Find The Brakes” which is appropriately titled as they are not slowing down anytime soon.

On the bill for Bluesfest in Byron Bay over Easter, saw the band do their first Australian Headline Tour with sideshows in Sydney and Melbourne. Tonight was Melbourne’s turn at Stay Gold in Brunswick. The last gig of this tour.

(C) Kylie Sahb Photography

Supporting Dirty Honey tonight were Shotgun Mistress who managed to warm up the crowd with lead singer Glenn Patrick singing from the bar counter to get the growing crowd going. Guitar heavy with Matt Wilcock at the helm, see this band as a Melbourne favourite.

(C) Kylie Sahb Photography

Second on the bill were Dead City Ruins whose guitar show is sublime. With two extraordinary guitar leads – Nick Casalini and Sean Blanchard, you can see why this band has a cult following in Melbourne. Their set list included Vison, Broken Bones, Dog on a Leash and ending with Preacher. They certainly got the crowd warmed and ready for main act.

(C) Kylie Sahb Photography

The house was crowded with fans of Dirty Honey. Sauntering on stage to cheers and whistles from the punters for they all knew that this was going to be something special. There is a certain magic in Dirty Honey’s sound, even with Marc LaBelle suffering from vocal strain. If this was him singing while under the weather, we would certainly be in for a treat then at full health. Guitarist John Notto took more of a lead tonight to help LaBelle rest his voice, but the crowd were certainly not disappointed with Notto’s solo’s and spotlight on his incredible talent on the six strings.

LaBelle’s voice, whilst strained, was still sublime. Reaching the high notes, still sounded effortless, even though his face said different. Yes, they could have cancelled the show, but they knew just how much they are loved in Melbourne and how disappointing to the fans it would have been. This is a testament to this hardworking band. And by doing this, the crowd forgave LaBelle when some notes were just out of reach. Even saying this, LaBelle still managed to hold the crowd. It must be mentioned that Jaydon Bean has fit right in as their new drummer and the extraordinary bass playing of Justin Smolian certainly hold this band tight.

Starting their set off with ‘California Dreamin‘ and straight into ‘Heartbreaker‘ certainly got the crowd under their spell. They just didn’t let up. They didn’t put the brakes on. They just keep going. With solos from each band member showcasing the major talent in this band, saw them end the night with their huge hit ‘Rolling 7s‘ and a crowd wanting more.

Dirty Honey should have played at a bigger venue and hopefully next time they visit Australia, they will be showcasing their amazing dirty rock sound to more followers. This band is going to be big. They have the makings of being one of the great rock bands and I cant wait to follow their adventures further.

Check out their latest album Cant Find The Brakes on all the streaming services.


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