Live Review: Honne, Bodega (19/10/2015)

Currently on tour up and down the UK, Bodega was the fortunate location able to host British duo Honne during their time in Nottingham. Although their success has continued to climb over the past year, after being signed to the same record label as AlunaGeorge and Bondax, and with sell-out gigs throughout most of Europe, Honne are an electric-soul duo who are unknown to indie fans everywhere. Made up of James Hatcher and Andy Clutterbuck, they conceived the name ‘Honne’ from the Japanese word meaning ‘true feelings’; an idea which is certainly evident in their music as the London pair have worked collectively since their time at university, writing and producing various heavy love songs.

Promoting their new EP Over Lover, the eclectic-soul duo showed the audience exactly what Honne stands for, with an intimate set consisting of both some old favourites from Coastal Love, and some new never before heard songs. Describing their own sound as “babymaking music”, there is undoubtedly only one way to explain the music produced by Honne, and that is pure soul. This was an element which radiated throughout their whole set, amplified through the use of a live band rather than pre-recorded backings. The band, which were completely complimentary to the vocals of lead singer Andy, and James, did a remarkable job of ensuring the music on display to the audience sounded precisely the same to that of studio recordings.

“Honne describe their sound as “babymaking music””

Favouring small venues, the band performed at Bodega’s intimate venue, which consists of a mixture of sitting and standing options. The group performed on the slightly uplifted stage in the corner of the room, and the whole set-up was simple, yet extremely elegant, not dissimilar to the band themselves, which is evident from their suave trousers, shirts and braces. The atmosphere was chilled, the low lighting and the fact the gig was not overly packed, meaning the audience could enjoy the music without it being ruined by people pushing into them, or standing too close: an element that tends to arise at gigs. The audience itself consisted of a variety of people from different ages, from teenagers to whole families.

However, one of the disadvantages of seeing a band in their early stages meant that the audience were not as wild as they may have been if seeing a more famous band, which led to some awkward intervals and almost piercing silence when Andy asked the audience to sing along to songs they did not know.

‘Coastal Love’, arguably their most popular song, was greeted by a variety of screams and shouts, while the audience sung along to every lyric. Perfect vocals were combined with the band’s assortment of drums, guitar and backing singer. Although their set up is not too different from any other band, the perfect timing and use of drums and guitar to create such a smooth, and almost ‘rhythm and blues’ tone, had the audience pining for the distant days of summer and romance.

“Honne write about real feelings and real emotions, allowing audiences to identify with them on a real-life level”

A true compliment to the band – there were very few smartphones held aloft as the audience immersed themselves completely in the music, transferring themselves into the magical, once in a lifetime experience that is produced by such an intimate live performance with Honne.  They are a band that will certainly blow up and be forced to perform in larger venues in the future. Honne’s certain future success comes from the mass similarities of their music to artists who have become huge superstars worldwide, such as the obvious comparisons to Drake and Frank Ocean’s heavy soul. Similar to these artists, Honne write about real feelings and real emotions, allowing audiences to identify with them on a real-life level. Taking inspiration from artists such as modern performers INK. and Jungle, as well as the classics such as Quincy Jones, Honne provide an outlet to heartbreak, pain and tears, through the magic of music.

Another personal highlight was ‘Warm on a Cold Night,’ the first single I was introduced to by a friend when introduced to the soul duo. The soulful single with its seductive rhythm and smooth vocals really complimented the rest of the set, and effortlessly transferred to the live environment.  The group were more than happy to stay and chat to their fans after the performance and James made sure to thank us for coming to see them. Honne, the pleasure was all ours.

Jess Greaney

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Co-Editor of the Music Section at University of Nottingham's IMPACT Magazine.
One Comment
  • pusher
    5 November 2015 at 15:31
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    what on earth have i just read? you don’t like people accidentally bumping your arm whilst dancing to music? i’d probably say that live music isn’t for you.

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