Leith Theatre, a venue which around this time last year was packed full of fans craving a raucous, ear-splitting concert, is now quiet. The emptiness of the hall is unavoidable, but rarely in Honeyblood’s set does the camera take time to soak up this emptiness. Instead, close ups of the microphone and guitar try to make this recorded set feel as intimate and involving as possible. The set up largely works, giving the Scottish rock singer a chance to treat viewers to some of her classic tracks in a short, striking performance. A backdrop of an empty room, with Honeyblood surrounded by light boxes, has a strangely mysterious feel that grabs your attention, while the music will make sure that it is never lost.
Part of the Edinburgh International Festival’s My Light Shines On series, Honeyblood faces away from the stage as if the sight of the empty Leith Theatre is too much to bear. With some slick editing and camerawork, the performance feels more like a music video than a live performance. It is a resonating set, with Honeyblood’s distinctive vocals cutting through the open air as she takes the viewers through three different tracks. The songs are carefully chosen, distinctive from one another yet very familiar to her fans. ‘Babes Never Die’ in particular feels like a perfect choice, the lyrics hitting an emotional sweet spot given the circumstances.
There is a soothing, yet powerful quality to Honeyblood’s performance. You wish that it lasted longer than a sparse 11 minutes, a forgiving intensity carrying you through from chord to chord. She demonstrates her full capacity as a musician, joined at the hip to her guitar as she leads you from track to track. Each note feels perfect, and this passionate performance puts quality before quantity to complete another fine addition to the EIF programme.
Honeyblood’s set is available to watch here