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Honey Ryder

Artists: Honey Ryder

Venue: Stoke, Artisan Tap

Date: 23rd May 2024


"The performance was so tight, yet somehow relaxed, and though this could have been due to hours and hours of rehearsals, I’d also like to think that was also testament to the individual talents coming together as one unit."


 

© Dave Bott photo of Honey Ryder
© Dave Bott

The Artisan Tap is a nifty little craft beer/live music establishment in the heart of Stoke (UK) and my first visit proved to be a highly entertaining one. It wasn’t the greatest of nights weather wise, but the sunny atmosphere inside the room made up for any shortcomings on the outside.


Honey Ryder were essentially a duo when the debut ‘Rising Up’ album was released in 2009. Though they received healthy media coverage and found themselves some high-profile support shows, they failed to maintain any real sense of momentum, due, in the main, to family commitments. They were unfairly labelled the UK’s Lady Antebellum by some narrow-minded members of the press, as they had their own identity, blurring the musical lines between Pop, Rock and Country with ease. Fast forward to 2024 and Honey Ryder is now a settled four-piece, featuring Lindsay O’Mahoney (lead vocals/guitar), Jason Huxley (guitar/vocals), Matt Bishop (guitar) and Sara Eker (vocals). This is the line-up responsible for the fantastic ‘Blood Red Moon’, the band’s fourth full-length album, released in 2023.


The compact room was busy when the band took to the stage and if there were any nerves, they seemed to dissipate once they launched into the opening ‘Headed For The Fire’. They were into their stride in no time, and it was hard to believe that it was their first live show in two years. Some bands hone their live craft though extensive time on the road, but this was not the case with Honey Ryder. The performance was so tight, yet somehow relaxed, and though this could have been due to hours and hours of rehearsals, I’d also like to think that was also testament to the individual talents coming together as one unit.


The whole set had great balance and featured songs from all four albums, alongside some new material. It is hard to pick out personal highlights, as they changed constantly, as the set progressed. My favourite Honey Ryder songs, ‘What If We’ve Only Got Tonight’ and ‘You Can’t Say That’, were delivered with great energy and enthusiasm, highlighting a brilliant creative mantra, as well as some top-drawer performances. The Weeknd’s ‘Blinding Lights’ was also a cool cover choice, even if it is a song outside of my usual musical comfort zone. Matt’s brother Tom became the fifth member of the band for the night, taking the role of drummer and programmer in his stride. There were plenty of sing-along opportunities, and it was also good to hear all the men in the crowd showcase their spelling skills during the set-closer ‘Power Of A Woman (W-O-M-A-N)’.


Speaking to Lindz after the show, she would have liked to have included more songs from ‘Rising Up’, but that would have meant the show being over two hours long. I don’t think anyone could have had any complaints about the twenty or songs that were covered though, and if Lindz ignored the setlist in front of her as much as possible, this merely added to the enjoyment. She promised that there will be more live shows in the near future, so hopefully, alongside some more new songs, this will be the catalyst for the success and plaudits that Honey Ryder richly deserve. Even though they have never really been away……welcome back.


 

Review & Photos: Dave Bott

 

Gallery: All photos © Dave Bott (used with kind permission)



 

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Guest
Jun 05
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

A fantastic review off what are one of my top bands. Always impeccable vocals and outstanding melodies. Most bands struggle to put out consistently strong songs across an album but Honey Ryder have continually do that. I just wish I could have been at the show. Blood Red Moon was my top album of last year and I think it could benefit now with having a wider release.

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