Dirty Honey | December 13, 2023 | Brooklyn Bowl | Nashville, TN – Concert Review


Nashville received a nice blast of modern-day rock and roll when Dirty Honey stopped in at the Brooklyn Bowl. The Los Angeles-based quartet tore it up with a 17-song set that included favorites like “Rolling 7s” and “California Dreamin’” alongside a handful of new songs from the group’s second album, Can’t Find The Brakes, as well as some head-turning covers.

After opener Austin Meade melted faces with an inspired set, Dirty Honey took the stage promptly at 9:00 and slapped the floor clean with the title track from their new album. They mixed up from there with “California Dreamin’,” “Heartbreaker,” “Scars,” and another newbie, “Dirty Mind.”

The frontline of singer Marc LaBelle, guitarist John Notto, and bassist Justin Smolian whipped the SRO into the kind of free-for-all frenzy typically associated with arena bands. No surprise there as the group has opened for everyone from the Black Crowes to Guns ‘N Roses in arenas and stadiums around the country. In other words, they know how to work over thousands of screaming rock fans, so the 1,200 or so within the confines of the Brooklyn Bowl got a monolithic spanking that likely lasted until the next morning.

Notto and Smolian grabbed a couple of acoustics, and new drummer Jaydon Bean tapped out a quick shuffle to get the floor moving and singing to the Stones classic, “Honky Tonk Women.” Notto’s fretwork falls somewhere between Roy Clark and Glen Campbell on this one, which thrilled the Nashvillian audience to no end. They’d later tackle Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy,” which did indeed make everyone in the Brooklyn Bowl go crazy.

The four-song encore included Dirty Honey’s first big hit, “Rolling 7s,” plus three more new ones from Can’t Find The Brakes – “Won’t Take Me Alive,” “Ride On,” and “Satisfied.” Clearly all the songs blend well within the group’s repertoire; the riffs are natural, almost intuitive, and the feel and chemistry among the four members continues to tighten and coalesce.

One can only speculate where the group goes from here. If their performance in Nashville is any indication, the rock will continue to roll in their favor, and eventually Dirty Honey will graduate to headlining arenas and stadiums on their own. All you can do for now is to keep your eyes and ears open for what happens next.

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