jakub | February 14, 2024

Dirty Honey Rock and Roll at Birmingham Academy 11th February 2024







Dirty Honey are a hard rock/blues band formed in 2017 that hail from Los Angeles, California. They along with several other bands such as Rival Sons, and Greta Van Fleet riding a current resurgence wave of classic 70’s inspired rock music, and with their clothing style you’d think you were in a club in downtown Birmingham Alabama, but instead we’re in Birmingham UK. We are in the 02 Academy as part of the bands UK/European tour that started last week in Glasgow and concludes in Paris next month.

Opening tonight are Baby Said. The band are formed around Italian/Punjabi Sisters, Veronica and Jess Pal and have recently released the single ‘Fight’. Initially the guitar and bass playing sisters formed a covers band, but went on to write and record their own material, naming their band Baby Said, this was influenced by the song of the same name by Italian rock band Maneskin. Baby Said support the last three gigs of the Dirty Honey UK tour and have been touted by many, to be an act to watch in 2024. They played a short set full of enthusiasm and were clearly happy for the opportunity afforded them by Dirty Honey, before they completed their set, they emphasised that have a new single out this Friday, 16th February, I suspect these few dates will have got them more fans and more importantly new sales for their music.



Shortly after 9.30, Dirty Honey appeared to euphoric applause, but it was the pounding bass provided by bassist Justin Smolian that kicks the set into life with ‘Can’t Find The Brakes’, a high energy song and the title track of their recent album released just a few months ago. ‘California Dreamin’ followed, a song that Mark has previously described is about the California Dream that many aspire to, some make it, some don’t, but it’s still a dream for many.

Who’s out for a little Rock n’ Roll on a Sunday night? Vocalist Marc La Belle asks? For a front man he converses well with the crowd, joking about an issue with guitarist John Notto’s equipment, claiming ‘we’ve rocked so hard tonight, we’ve broken something’, a slight delay and its straight into ‘Dirty Mind’ showcasing a searing solo John comes right to the edge of the stage, and the fans loved it. Further into the set, they decide to slow things down and Marc tells of how the song ‘Coming Home, [Ballad Of The Shire] came about, it’s a beautiful acoustic inspired song that showcases Justin and John guitar playing style very well. It’s followed by Marc asking us to pretend ‘we’re in down in Nashville, Tennessee’, as they launch into a unique cover version of ‘Honky Tonk Woman’, it’s in a bluegrass style, a little different but somehow it works.

The LA rockers step it up again with my favourite song of the night. “Don’t Put Out The Fire”, a song that exudes strong anthemic qualities. Most of the songs tonight are from Can’t Find The Brakes as expected but did include a fair amount from their past catalogue.



It would be too simplistic to say that Marc had a fantastic rapport with the fans, even more so when he jumped off the stage into the photo pit, but he then made his way out to sing ‘Another Last Time’ immersed in the audience prior to this he waved his mic stand out over the pit towards the fans several times getting a great reaction from the crowd. Guitarist John strut around the stage, crouching down with his Les Paul, pushing it up in the air yet not missing a single note of those mesmerising solo’s. Jordan laid down some awesome bass lines and was by no means static, between himself and Jaydon on drums provide an amazing rhythm section. The whole bands musicianship and the show they put on was absolutely outstanding.

I only recent came across the guys, ironically just after their previous tour, and hope to catch up with them again very soon, hopefully in a bigger venue, the gig was close to a sell out, so I see no problem at all packing out more prestigious venues in the future. All in, it was a stunning night and proof that Rock n’ Roll is far from over.



Set List

1.Can’t Find The Brakes

2. Califonia Dreamin’

3. Heartbreaker

4. Get A Little High

5. Scars

6. Dirty Mind

7. Tied Up

8. Coming Home [Ballas Of The Shire]

9. Honky Tonk Woman

10. Ride On / Satisfied

11. No Warning

12. Last Child

13. The Wire

14. Another Last Time

15. When I’m Gone

16. Wont Take Me Alive

17. You Make It All Right

18. Rolling 7’s












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