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Dirty Honey, Joyous Wolf rock summer tour

Dirty Honey Band 

The drums glimmered in the soft light, accenting the band’s logo of dripping lips on the front of the bass drum. This was Dirty Honey’s third time playing at the Bourbon Theatre in Lincoln, and they keep returning for a reason. The crowd erupted when they hit the first chord of “Gypsy,” and it was clear it would be a good show.  

Members Marc Labelle, John Notto, Justin Smolian, and Corey Coverstone form one of the up and coming bands that is part of a movement in the rock scene. With a sound that draws classic rock listeners, they are beginning another era.  

Dirty Honey used this tour to showcase their new self-titled album. They performed songs from the album such as “California Dreamin,’” “The Morning” and “Another Last Time” as well as favorites including “When I’m Gone,” “Rolling 7s” and “Fire Away.” The band even included its take on an AC/DC classic. The energy radiating from each member of the band was enough to power the crowd and truly breathed life into every song.  

Dirty Honey’s energy wasn’t the only thing that carried the show, as their musicianship was spoke for itself. Each song sounded as clean as their recordings, but it was even better live. The instrumentalists of the group played solos throughout the show, and the crowd was mesmerized during each one.  

Throughout his several minute solo, Drummer Corey Coverstone captivated the audience with ups and downs, building suspense with each change in pace. His hands seemed so relaxed that it looked effortless, a characteristic he especially exhibits with the quick swing on “Tied Up.” Coverstone’s expertise makes other drummers look twice with his ability to play with one foot what many drummers could barely play with two. 

Justin Smolian on bass guitar also brought his everything. I had never seen a crowd so attentive for a bass solo, but his was worth it. He began with what sounded like an excerpt from a classical piece and went on to produce sounds I had never before heard from a bass guitar. He went rock, he went soulful, he even got a little funky, and the crowd was there for every minute of it. Toward the end, drums came in and assisted the transition into the next song. 

John Notto’s solo brought a different mood to the show, exhibiting the blues style upon which rock is based. Also producing a hush over the audience, each lick was accompanied by his energy which filled the room. As he brought the solo to a close, he set up and went seamlessly into the song “Another Last Time,” one of the most well-received by the audience. 

Marc Labelle’s voice was the cherry on top, giving each song its signature sound. His energy radiated through his tremendous range. As Dirty Honey’s frontman, Labelle finds a way to connect with the audience members personally. He puts forth the feeling of each song, not just the words. He added even more to the performance with his ad lib extensions of notes and outgoing personality. 

Another emerging rock band Joyous Wolf was was an excellent choice as a special guest for the tour. 

“It’s a great look for the scene,” Notto said. “It’s cool to have [Joyous Wolf] out. I think it’s been a perfect fit.” 

They preceded Dirty Honey with an abundance of high energy and spirit that was hard to match. Joyous Wolf showcased its new unreleased material, as well as favorites such as “Mother Rebel” and “Quiet Heart.”  

Lead vocalist Nick Reese engaged the crowd every second of their hourlong set. His powerful voice and onstage antics were hard to ignore with anything and everything from flips to splits. At one point, he parted the audience and jumped onto the floor, everyone gazing in wonder. After running back and forth, smiling all the while, he bounded back onto the stage and continued singing.   

After the show, both bands took the time to personally speak with every fan that wanted to meet them.  

Lincoln radio station 104-1 The Blaze has been airing Dirty Honey’s music since before their first Lincoln performance. 

“I think Lincoln liked us first,” Notto said. “We’ve had that support from them before we even knew them. When you get that in a town, you come back.” 

Members of Dirty Honey were pleased with the number of fans coming to see them. 

“It’s only gotten better every time we’ve come,” Labelle said.  

It was clear through their playing, crowd interaction and conversation that members of both Joyous Wolf and Dirty Honey genuinely enjoy what they do.  

“It’s literally the time of my life up there,” Labelle said.  

Though the California Dreamin’ Tour has come to an end, Dirty Honey is now supporting The Black Crowes on their tour through September. Labelle was especially looking forward to the tour as The Black Crowes is one of his all-time favorite groups. 

“That’s a dream come true for me,” Labelle said. 

Dirty Honey and Joyous Wolf are just two of many emerging bands revitalizing the rock scene. With bands like these, the 2020s are off to a great start musically. The California Dreamin’ Tour is only part of the beginning of what this decade is going to bring, and I’m looking forward to every minute. 

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