The Castle & Falcon
Review by Mark Wakeman
The Castle & Falcon had a good turn out for Honeyblood despite the inclement weather. Opening act Velvet Tides are a Birmingham male four piece formed last year who when one of them said hi to me I realized I’d only seen play last week supporting Just Mustard at The Sunflower Lounge.
Velvet Tides are a hard band to define with an eclectic appearing line up who you could all see being in bands of differing sounds. Their set appeared to be the same as last week’s but with the bigger Castle & Falcon stage and a larger crowd it seemed to have stepped up a level.
Caleeb’s searing guitar playing was the centrepiece of an impressively tight musical performance with Luke’s vocals almost being in the background on the opening few songs. When Luke’s vocals did come to the fore he displayed an impressive Ian McCulloch type baritone voice.
Closing track and new single ‘Lost in Motion’ was the set highlight with shades of a Joy Division sound and vocals.
Main support act Sorcha Richardson is a young singer songwriter from Dublin who was on her first visit to Birmingham. Like a lot of solo performers armed with only an electric guitar there is a worry that their set can sound very samey and Sorcha admitted her songs sound much different with a full band. But it soon became apparent that she had an impressive voice with shades of Charlotte Carpenter or even Anna Calvi.
Her wonderfully soft Irish accent came across beautifully on ‘Lost’ which was an early set highlight. Her debut album ‘First Prize Bravery’ is released in a couple of weeks and the track was dropped as a single today.
Set highlights were the dream pop of ‘Honey’ and ‘Don’t Talk About It’ which has the potential to become a real live highlight.
On this performance her debut album will be worth checking out and if she returns to the UK with a full band to do a headline tour I’d recommend checking them out.
Honeyblood which is now effectively just Stina Tweeddale plus a touring drummer and bassist firstly had all their speakers removed before they took to the stage, which was a first for me. Stina looking not unlike a young Susannah Hoffs with her long cascading hair, fishnet tights and guitar soon had the audience singing along as she delivered over an hour long masterclass in great guitar pop music.
Although this tour is clearly to promote new album ‘In Plain Sight’, Stina knew how to get the crowd hooked by opening with a trio of older songs ‘Bubblegum’, ‘Biro’ and ‘Choker’ before she then dropped in ‘The Third Degree’ and ‘Tarantella’ from the new album before going back to the mass crowd sing-along of ‘Super Rat’.
With the crowd now hooked the set was able to concentrate on the newer material as the stronger songs from the new album dominated with ‘A Kiss From The Devil’ and the wonderfully dark ‘Take The Wheel’. The gig went to even greater heights with the trio of ‘Glimmer’, ‘Gibberish’ and ‘She’s A Nightmare’ making the album an essential post show merch desk purchase.
Older tracks ‘Killer Bangs’ and ‘Ready For The Magic’ bought a great concert to an end before Stina returned for a solo number and a final flourish with the band for a much deserved and well received encore.