Honeyblood, formed originally as a duo in 2012, is now the solo project of Edinburgh-born and Glasgow-based indie-rock singer, guitarist and songwriter Stina Tweeddale. Honeyblood’s recently-released third album, In Plain Sight, has already attracted a fair few highly favourable reviews, and the UK tour to promote the album included a sold-out gig at Edinburgh’s Summerhall on 3rd June. For this tour, the self-styled High Priestess of Scottish witchy-rock, Stina Tweeddale, assembled a live band consisting of herself and two other feisty characters in drummer Debbie Knox-Hewson and bassist Anna Donigan. “Edinburgh…it’s been too long!” exclaimed Stina Tweeddale, as she took to the stage for this home town gig, informing us that her Mum and Dad were among the packed audience.
Crashing guitar riffs, rumbling bass and tribal drums ushered in the opening song, Sea Hearts, which set the tone for a relentlessly exhilarating performance. Honeyblood’s superior brand of intelligent and exuberant indie-rock, with songs chock full of killer riffs and hooks, served up hints of 1970s American New Wave and a dash of punk attitude. Although this was a tour geared towards promoting the new album, the fifteen-song set was split evenly between In Plain Sight and Honeyblood’s two previous albums, 2014’s eponymous debut Honeyblood and 2016’s Babes Never Die. The earlier songs included two Honeyblood ‘anthems’, in the form of the joyous and defiant Babes Never Die and the slyly mocking Super Rat (“…you are the smartest rat in the sewer…”), during which the audience were invited to dance…no mean feat, given the cramped confines.
But what about the selection of new songs from In Plain Sight? Well, they all sounded particularly fresh and crisp, with the highlights including the thinly-veiled menace of power-pop gem She’s A Nightmare; the sparkling Glimmer (reminiscent of early Blondie, with its glorious sing-along choruses); the snarling post-punk grunge of Gibberish; and the dreamy 1960s girl vocal group pastiche of The Third Degree.
For the inevitable encore, Stina Tweeddale returned to the stage on her own (claiming that her band didn’t know any more of her songs…) to play some delicious, jangling Byrds-esque guitar on a stripped-back version of the graceful Bud, from her debut album.
This gig was an absolute adrenaline rush. Stina Tweeddale’s charismatic live performances and inventive song-writing underline Honeyblood’s status as one of the most singular talents in the current Scottish music scene.