Although the crowd gave them little to work with,
Scottish duo Honeyblood put on a formidable performance at Chicago’s
Subterranean to round out October.

Opener Jay Som, a slowcore band from San Francisco,
started the show on a reflective note. Jay Som is the musical pseudonym
of multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Melina Duterte, who has
supported artists such as Mitski and Peter Bjorn and John. Their set
closed with “I Think You’re Alright”, a lengthy jam rife with fuzzy
guitars. It was a beautiful and emotionally captivating performance, and
displayed Jay Som’s live prowess.

The show happened to coincide with the North American release of
Honeyblood’s latest album, “Babes Never Die.” The album has been
receiving positive reviews from many major media outlets including NME,
The Guardian, and Line of Best Fit. The pair worked their way through
all of “Babes Never Die,” as well as some older tracks from
their 2014 self-titled debut. Truly impressive was the amount of sound
produced from only having two musicians on stage: their sound was full
and developed and left no impression that another musician was needed.
The small audience could have made for an awkward and unenjoyable show,
but Honeyblood’s strong performance filled in the gaps and their
on-stage banter warmed up the sparse crowd and created a lighthearted,
familiar atmosphere. Topics covered included Belle and Sebastian’s
drinking habits (the duo toured with the famed fellow Scottish indie
rockers in 2015), their day in Chicago, and the names for all of the
extra electronic noises that made it onto the new album (Sebastian). A
dark spot on an otherwise stellar show came from a boisterously drunk
super-fan who insisted on heckling the band between each song. Other
audience members were visibly embarrassed by the fan’s behavior, and
Subterranean is a small enough venue that the yelling could hardly be
ignored, but they handled the situation with grace and humor and didn’t
let it affect the quality of the show they were playing. With the
release of their latest album, Honeyblood continues to expand their
sound and live shows, and hopefully this will result in gigs with fuller
audiences and more enthusiasm for the work they are doing onstage.

-Liza McQueney, Music Director