Dirty Honey Scares Up a Good Time on Halloween Night, October 31st, 2023, at The Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia

Dirty Honey is one of today's modern rock torchbearers, worthy of all the industry accolades and opportunities they have been piling up, including support of Guns N' Roses on...

Words and Photos: Elliott Gordon

@PlacemarkPhoto
 

 

The historic Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, played host to Los Angeles rockers Dirty Honey on Tuesday night. Out on the road promoting their upcoming sophomore release, Can’t Find the Brakes, Dirty Honey was supported by Texas native singer/songwriter Austin Meade. Built in 1930, this 1,800-capacity venue was originally designed in a Spanish baroque style has a general admission floor with an upper seated balcony area. It is always a great indoor setting to catch a live show, especially when it is 40 degrees outside like it was for Halloween night.

Just barely a year removed from the release of his fourth LP, Abstract Art of an Unstable Mind, Meade cast his rock and roll spell on the early crowd starting at 7:45pm with a track pulled from that album, “Violation Delight.” Fronting a five-piece band, Meade delivered a 10-song, 45-minute set anchored in the gritty and punchy 70’s-influenced bangers he is known for. At times when Meade also picked up the guitar, songs like “Cave In” simply thumped through your chest with angry energy. The band wrapped up their night with “Blackout,” the groovy, in-your-face single released back in May that highlighted Meade’s maturing songwriting abilities and musical staying power.

Following a 30-minute equipment turn, the large Dirty Honey logo hung above the drum riser was lit up shortly after 9:00pm as the house lights went dark. With new drummer Jaydon Bean taking his place behind the kit, John Notto (guitar) and Justin Smolian (bass) stormed to the stage and kicked off their night with “Can’t Find the Brakes” from their forthcoming album (of the same name) which will be released this Friday, November 3rd. Singer Marc LaBelle, donning his signature black hat and shades, was all smiles as he walked out from behind the curtain in front of the semi-costumed crowd. Their loyal fans, some dressed up and celebrating Halloween as demons, bees, and KISS, were then treated to familiar tracks in “California Dreamin'” and “Heartbreaker.”

The first time I caught classic-rock-influenced Dirty Honey live was back in April 2022, on the final night of the “Young Guns Tour” which they were co-headlining with Wolfgang Van Halen’s Mammoth WVH. Eighteen months have passed since then, and I couldn’t have been more impressed with how much they have progressed. Dirty Honey’s stage presence and production was spectacular, their musicianship was as tight as ever following the addition of Bean, and LaBelle’s vocal ability to transition from sinful to soulful was on full display as the band delivered tunes “Tied Up” and “Coming Home (Ballad of the Shire)” back-to-back.

While the band did mix in enjoyable covers of “Honky Tonk Woman” (The Rolling Stones) and Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” in the back half of their set, for me the highlight was “Another Last Time,” the final track off their self-titled 2021 album. I have always felt that this song gets to the core of Dirty Honey’s modern rock tone, with complimentary, stunning riffs by both Notto and Smolian. The band capped off their opening set with “When I’m Gone,” which hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart back in 2019, making them the first unsigned band in music history to reach this achievement.

Returning to the stage to perform an encore, LaBelle reflected that Tuesday night would be one of the last shows they can claim “to be playing unreleased songs,” which led into the new, Aerosmith-feeling single they released back in September, “Won’t Take Me Alive.” Dirty Honey then put a final punctuation on their 90-minute evening, dropping an energetic performance of fan-favorite “Rolling 7s” from their 2019 self-titled EP.

Dirty Honey is one of today’s modern rock torchbearers, worthy of all the industry accolades and opportunities they have been piling up, including support of Guns N’ Roses on a few dates earlier this year. The Can’t Find the Brakes Tour rolls on continuously through the middle of December, wrapping up just prior to the holidays on Friday, December 15th, in downtown St. Louis, Missouri, at The Hawthorn. Give yourself a treat, and be sure to catch them when they hit your town.

 

Austin Meade – Setlist

1. Violation Delight
2. Dopamine Drop
3. Cave In
4. Freak Show
5. 7 Letters
6. Quicksand
7. Darker Shade of Blue
8. Deja Vu
9. Happier Alone
10. Blackout

https://www.austinmeade.com/

 

 

Dirty Honey’s 2023 Tour Dates:

08/27 – Corning, CA @ Rolling Hills Casino

08/29 – Charlotte, NC @ Spectrum Center

09/01 – Saratoga Springs, NY @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center

09/06 – Lexington, KY @ Rupp Arena

09/16 – Camden, NJ @ MMRBBQ, Freedom Mortgage Pavilion

09/20 – Biloxi, MI @ Mississippi Coast Coliseum

10/18 – San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom

10/19 – Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades

10/21 – San Diego, CA @ The Observatory North Park

10/22 – Mesa, AZ @ The Nile Theater

10/24 – Dallas, TX @ The Studio at the Factory

10/25 – Houston, TX @ RISE Rooftop

10/27 – Orlando, FL @ The Beacham

10/28 – Ponte Vedra, FL @ Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

10/29 – Tampa, FL @ The RITZ Ybor

10/31 – Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre

11/01 – Charlotte, NC @ The Underground

11/03 – Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live!

11/04 – Harrisburg, PA @ HMAC

11/05 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Asbury Lanes

11/07 – Montreal, QC @ Théâtre Beanfield

11/08 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall

11/10 – Indianapolis, IN @ The Vogue

11/12 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s

11/13 – Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall

11/15 – Lawrence, KS @ Liberty Hall

11/16 – Denver, CO @ Summit

11/17 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot

11/19 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Sand Dollar Downtown

11/20 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Belasco

11/24 – Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory

11/25 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater

11/26 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox

11/28 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory

12/01 – Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theatre

12/02 – Minneapolis, MN @ Uptown Theater

12/04 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave II

12/05 – Bloomington, IL @ The Castle Theatre

12/07 – Detroit, MI @ Saint Andrew’s Hall

12/08 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Elevation

12/09 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues

12/11 – Columbus, OH @ The Bluestone

12/13 – Nashville, TN @ Brooklyn Bowl

12/14 – Louisville, KY @ Mercury Ballroom

12/15 – St. Louis, MO @ The Hawthorn

 

Dirty Honey – Setlist

Can’t Find the Brakes
California Dreamin’
Heartbreaker
Scars
Dirty Mind
Tied Up
Coming Home (Ballad of the Shire)
Honky Tonk Women (The Rolling Stones cover)
Don’t Put Out the Fire
Let’s Go Crazy (Prince cover)
The Wire
Another Last Time
When I’m Gone

Encore

Won’t Take Me Alive
Rolling 7s

 

Dirty Honey

Marc LaBelle – Vocals

John Notto – Guitar

Justin Smolian – Bass

Jaydon Bean – Drums

 

https://www.dirtyhoney.com/

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