The best way to learn about new music isn’t through some algorithm that gives you similar sounding music. It helps, but the best way is for people to recommend you something, whether it comes from trusted reviewers or close friends. The latter was how I got into Honne, a soulful synthpop group fronted by James Hatcher and Andy Clutterbuck. My friend’s brother Jordan emphatically recommended them, outlining their chill sound that drew out more emotion than anything he had heard recently.
So when Honne announced a slot at Mamby on the Beach, I was more than thrilled to be seeing them for the first time. However, their seemingly perfect summer appearance was canceled a week out and a Metro show was slotted for an even more fitting fall show, giving Honne the chance to live up to their debut album’s title Warm on a Cold Night on starting cool Chicago evening. Over the span of their show at Metro, Honne delivered on everything I had been promised and more.
Honne emerged to the stage with a full band, an element that really catapulted their sound to a completely different soundscape. While synths are vital to their infused R&B tracks, the added textures from live instrumentation added to their already soulful and emotional tracks. Much of the emotion is thanks to Clutterbuck’s unbelievably silky smooth vocals that never faltered throughout the evening. “Warm on a Cold Night” melted the crowd away while “Someone Who Loves You” had Rebeka Prance step up fro the background to the front of the stage and take over Izzy Bizu’s parts with grace. The crowd sang the song back to the band in a moment the encapsulated just how much this sold out crowd was digging the show.
There were moments where that chill vibe hit a peak that could only be remedied by an all out explosion from the band. Their relaxed sound become raucous, pelting the energized crowd with straight up jams that you expected from seasoned rock band. These shifts in sound felt completely unexpected but somehow felt appropriate in the atmosphere. Everyone was just so into groove, letting Honne guided them were ever they saw fit.
Towards the end of the set, Honne invited a crowd member up on stage. I should have expected it to be Jordan, but was just as surprised as if I didn’t know how much of a fan he was (as he would reveal his pair of Honne related tattoos on stage for all the crowd to see). Hatcher and Clutterbuck raved about Jordan and Chicago’s and appreciation of their music, before diving back into their set for more. It was dizzying affair that seemed to just keep going, delighting the dancing fans until we were all spent.