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Honeyblood didn’t drop a single beat at their Melbourne show

Entering the stage with little presence or assertiveness, locals Totally Mild lived up to their name with a set of apathetic soft rock. With little change in dynamic or pacing, the band’s clinical and restrained approach left little impression on the crowd or vibe of the show. Channeling the feeling of asinine boredom and musical conservatism, the band’s performance brought nothing to the table, especially in contrast of the spirited rock‘n’roll to come. It’s a shame when musical commitment and talent is spent on something so far removed from everything that makes Melbourne rock music so great. The only saving grace could potentially be viewing it as something of a parody of the “triple j being nothing but dull castrated wuss music” trope, but even then you’re not gonna have a good time.
 
Taking the stage with a burst of energy, precision and character, Honeyblood effortlessly powered through their set of garage pop. Drawing heavily on their 2016 sophomore album Babes Never Die, a vast improvement on the enjoyable but one dimensional 2014 self-titled debut, the set never once dropped the vibe or missed a beat. Performing a deceptively full sound for just a two-piece, drummer Cat Myers carried the bulk of the driving rhythm, performing not only drum parts but constant backing vocals and synth lines. While lead vocalist and guitarist Stina Marie Claire held down a more conservative musical approach to her roles, the sheer confidence and power of both performers brought it all together.
 
The addition of a full-time bass player or synth player would be wholly unnecessary given the current talent within the band. Heavy touring and the perfect harnessing of a new band’s desire to prove themselves have worked out well, with a freshness and organic chemistry channeled perfectly into their sound. Singles Sea Hearts and breakthrough hit Killer Bangs highlighted the set, with both tracks in particular showing off the band’s balance of pop-sensibility and garage rock attitude. Despite the band’s industry hype in recent years, supporting the likes of Foo Fighters and playing at international festivals, the feeling was intimate and unpretentious in the small Curtin bandroom, an approach that many bands lose after breaking through to the next level of industry exposure and performance. While the band’s sound is nothing original, with valid comparisons made to contemporaries Best Coast and Dum Dum Girls, the foundation of a solid musical backing, songwriting, and chemistry elevate the band above the bulk of modern alternative rock.
 
By Joe Hansen
 
Highlight: Honeyblood’s Killer Bangs closing the set, one of my favourite power pop songs in recent years.
Lowlight: Totally Mild’s lacklustre opening set.
Crowd Favourite: Honeyblood’s latest high-energy single Sea Hearts.