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Live Review: Honeyblood & LUCIA @ Summerhall, Edinburgh, 03/06/19


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Glaswegian four-piece LUCIA joined Edinburgh native Stina Tweeddale for her homecoming gig at Summerhall, now bolstered by both a bassist and drummer. The new line-up comes following the release of her third studio album In Plain Sight last month, the first credited as solely Tweeddale’s brainchild.

Image credit: Alasdair Flett

Monday night crowds are notoriously stiff. Nevertheless, if moshing fails to break out then there is still a palpable emotional resonance produced and favourites from the first two albums are sung along to with unwavering conviction. Honeyblood was never exactly intimate, but the intensity of the live sound has increased with the move from duo to trio.

Before the new band takes to the stage to air several new songs as well as selected tracks from the previous two albums, LUCIA performs to a room far larger than the one they’ve ended up in. Despite the reserved crowd Lucia Fairfull struts around the stage with confidence. During ‘Melted Ice Cream’ she vaults off stage over the monitors and sings into the faces of various punters, who largely keep a wide berth until the final chorus, where she finally finds a truly devoted fan who helps her complete the concluding refrain.

Fairfull’s self-possession is echoed by her bandmates. They open with ‘Cheap Talk’ from last year’s EP of the same name, which sounds like it straddles the shoegaze/brit pop divide much like Ride of the 90s. Flanked by her bassist to left and lead guitarist to the right, the frontwoman occupies a compromise indicative of complementary styles from the melodic post-punk basslines of the former to the hard rock inspired, leather-jacketed pinch harmonics of the latter. She remarks how the sunny lyrical themes, particularly of their biggest track, ‘Summertime’, aren’t the most appropriate for a decidedly dreich start to the week.

Both bands are presided over primarily by a single leading lady and despite the audience’s obvious affinity with the songs, the infectious camaraderie of equals present in the previous line-up with Cat Myres is still developing in Honeyblood’s new touring band. Tonight, we don’t get much in the way of anecdotes, which was perhaps assisted in the last touring cycle by the fact her drummer had some input in the creative process.

Speculations aside, Honeyblood delivers a polished show and the addition of a bassist adds an extra dimension to an already full sound, although Sebastian the synthesiser served his purpose at the time. This is particularly evident in the band’s rendition of ‘(I’d Rather Be) Anywhere but Here’ from the debut album, which Tweeddale slyly informs us is in reference to Glasgow. It’s a set highlight with its deliciously crunchy guitar tones and shoegaze vibes, entrancing the audience under streaming orange ambience.

Prior to, during and after Honeyblood’s performance, it is apparent that the Edinburgh fandom is a kind of family. A guy behind me recounts how this is the fourth time he’s seen the band, each time in different venues throughout the city. Tweeddale’s parents are in the audience and everyone seems to have a story of personal connection to tell at the merch stand once it’s all over. It’s remarkable what a sense of love and community can be constructed by cathartically belting out “I will hate you forever” in unison to Super Rat. Although songs like ‘Ready for the Magic’ come a bit unstuck and shouty, and the new songs will take getting used to, the anthems from Babes Never Die and the debut stand out as boldly as ever.

In Plain Sight is out now on Marathon Artists, featuring the singles ‘The Third Degree’ and ‘She’s A Nightmare’.

Lead image credit: Alasdair Flett

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