It’s a typical Saturday afternoon of sitting around watching some college football and randomly scrolling through my social media when a bit of news I’ve waited, what seems like my whole life to see, pops up in my feed: The first unsigned rock band in history to have a song hit #1 on Mainstream Rock radio and that the band that pulled this “impossible” feat off was none other than Los Angeles based Dirty Honey. Ironically these guys had me on their guestlist for the show in Detroit at the Fillmore the next day. [Insert the sign of the horns here]
Before I get to my attempt at reviewing the current Dirty Honey show in Detroit, let’s imagine some funky dream sequence music as we head back in time to March 27th 2019 to The Shelter, also in Detroit for those of you who don’t know. The lineup that night was Red Sun Rising, Goodbye June and yep you guessed it…Dirty Honey! I had zero clue who this “dirty” band was but found myself amused before they even played once I saw those honey dripping lips on a t shirt at the merch table. Goodbye Junes longtime tour manager also reassured me that, “These guys rock”. I was ready man.
The lights drop, the band walks out, pick up their respective tools and just start rockin the Shelter like a seasoned veteran band that has been doing this their whole life. They immediately sent my mind into an early GnR vibe with both their look and sound, but definitely not limited to just that comparison. This was just raw, unadulterated, fun rock n roll from four dudes that really looked like they were having the time of their lives. Something just felt real and right about this band. I couldn’t wait to meet these guys. Especially when I realized that after their set they headed straight to their merch table to meet whoever wanted to meet them and to, get this, sell the merch themselves. These guys were humble and approachable .
Fast forward past the introduction and congrats on a killer show and all the chit chat that comes with that. Picture Justin, the bass player, on my back as I am, for no reason whatsoever, running in a circle until I slip on something on the floor and bam. We are both laying on the ground asking each other if we were alright. We were, but trust me that shit hurt. After that smack to the concrete we exchanged contact info, laughed and did the whole, “see ya down the road man.”
Now lets funky dream sequence back to present day, October 6th, 2019, just over 6 months since I first saw these guys at The Shelter. It’s time for Dirty Honey’s set at The Fillmore Detroit opening for Alter Bridge and Skillet. Out they come, pick up their respective tools once again and start rockin the house. Though this time they just had their single “When I’m Gone” hit #1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart and it was obvious this crowd was well aware of that fact …and well aware of that song.
Dirty Honey consists of members Marc LaBelle (Lead Vocals), John Notto (Guitar), Justin Smolian (Bass) and Corey Coverstone (Drums). This band is indeed as cool as their names. These guys are seemingly beyond their years with how tight they play and their command of the stage. Each song throughout the set brings a certain energy and excitement that truly makes you want more. Marc’s vocals shoot across the venue like a top fuel dragster. Dirty, refined and runnin’ on high octane Rock n Roll.
Justin and Corey have the rhythm section locked in tighter than a Fort Knox padlock, while John puts his stamp on the riffs and delivers them to the crowd quicker and slicker than an Amazon drone.These guys are for real and the crowd can sense it, they can feel. With every song played, the crowd’s cheers are noticeably louder and louder. As I looked around the venue I could see all of the “Holy Shit” reactions of many. You truly get the feeling that Dirty Honey has arrived and arrived in a big way.
As Dirty Honey’s ass kicking set is coming to a close, Marc announces to the crowd that the band will be at their merch table to meet and take pictures with anyone who is interested. Within only a few minutes of the set ending, these guys were already at the merch table, greeting fans with smiles and taking photos. This band was slinging merch like they were the hottest new toys for Christmas. Selling it themselves just like they were doing 6 months prior at the Shelter.
Every vinyl sold came autographed and anything you bought was handed to you by Dirty Honey themselves. The line was long and people waited to meet these rock n roll honeymakers all the way through the headlining set. We all know the days of these guys selling their own merch are going to be short lived, but damn, from start to finish and from stage to the merch table, Dirty Honey is the real deal rock n roll band everyone needs to get a taste of.