Gig Review: Black Honey at Rescue Rooms

Words: Iulia Teodora Matei
Photos: Nigel King
Wednesday 05 April 2023
reading time: min, words

Iulia Teodora Matei went down to Rescue Rooms to see indie rockers Black Honey put on a show...


Black Honey are a near-perfect indie rock band, and they know just how good they are. Ever since the Tarantino Spinning Wheel tribute put the band on the lips of every indie rock fan, frontwoman Izzy Bee Phillips has insisted she’d prefer her band to stay "secret". Absolutely no chance of that happening.

Their show at Rescue Rooms on Saturday saw the venue absolutely packed, with a sold-out show that had people of all ages gathered together in feverish anticipation. Somehow, that night felt like it was just the kick-off to their upward trajectory.

The gig started with the curtain raiser Charlie Bronson, a song that acts as a metaphor for singer Izzy Bee Phillips’ neurodivergence, and all the rage hidden just beneath the surface of every woman or anyone forced to fit social norms. The front-woman throws us straight into her despair - “a postcard from my padded cell / direct from my private hell”.


Black Honey have such a nick for combining infectious, aggressive, and just downright fun riffs and melodies with serious topics such as mental illness and injustice. They leave you feeling seen, empowered, and invigorated. They are fighters, and they invite all of those who feel like outsiders to stand tall and strong alongside them.

That sentiment was definitely felt in Rescue Rooms’ crowd, as people took in Izzy’s infectious passion and energy. I’d never seen that many moshpits in the course of one single gig until that night. A cheeky smile made its way on Izzy’s face every time people gently started forming an open circle during the quiet moments of a song, only to burst with energy towards the middle as the drums and guitars kicked in. I found myself in a few of them too, and I’ve never felt safer! Everyone was so careful and respectful, and I’m very proud of Notts’ rock fans for that.


The band played a mix of old classics and new tunes that kept both old and new fans on their toes. Newer songs like Up Against It, Rock Bottom, Heavy, and OK felt like one big hug from a good friend after you’ve had a rough time. Heartfelt and powerful, there is no wonder people connect to Izzy on such a deep level. She speaks out for all of us, and simultaneously looks out for all of us too. The band is not afraid to delve into topics like depression, low self-esteem issues, alienation, and just generally feeling like a ‘weirdo’. The songs are thumping, sweet, and honest - an arm around the shoulder for anyone feeling down.

The old fans weren’t disappointed either, with the band playing some of their most popular tracks, like the legendary I Like The Way You Die - an anthemic song with a femme-fatale spirit meant for world-conquering women. The track is drenched with a hedonistic, anything-goes attitude, a signature element of Black Honey’s empowering brand. As Izzy B. Phillips explains, “I made this record for young women to feel invincible” - I can confirm that she absolutely nailed it.


The band closed with Corrine, another classic song from the quartet that is laced with emotion and bursting with lyrics that many will undoubtedly relate to. Starting off with soft, faded vocals and distant drumming, the track springs to life in true Black Honey style, with a raging chorus of extreme magnitude. Mid-song, Izzy invited all women and non-binary people to the front, making space for those who might not always be treated with the same warmth and kind welcome elsewhere. She gave some of us a hug before jumping back on stage and ending the night with one last run through Corrine’s energetic chorus.

There’s no denying that people resonate hard with the band's lyrics, music, and energy. Heartfelt and heavy, Black Honey is quickly becoming a staple in the world of indie rock, and one would be a fool not to keep their eyes on what this group is going to bring next!

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