Entering the ballroom, I have a vague idea of the kind of clientele Black Honey will attract. Making my way to the upper tier of the venue, I look down and skim the crowd of 90s inspired mom jeans, space buns and the overall far too-cool-for-school audience.
Once I’d waded through the swathes of leather jackets, fishnets, tatted limbs and the pervasive scent of mixed high-end cologne towards the stage, I caught sight of the giant ‘Y’ hanging down from the ceiling. In a bold white font set in a red circle filled with repeats of the acronym ‘TMTF’, it mimicked the British Board of Film Classification certificate for an ‘18’ rated film. This set rather lofty expectations for the show to come. Would we be treated to strong language, nudity, sadistic violence and explicit scenes of a sexual nature (if justified by the context)?
The lights dimmed to an eerie darkness and Albert Hammond Jr.’s voice boomed across the room, reciting the spoken word intro to The Doors’ ‘The Soft Parade’, in which Jim Morrison bullishly asserts that, “You cannot petition the lord with prayer!” Beyond Morrison’s Nietzchean, anti-theistic worldview, this brazen monologue is often perceived as an outpour of Morrison’s frustrations with what audiences expected of him, and his desire to just be himself. As a guitarist of The Strokes - one of the biggest indie bands in history - now touring as a solo artist, this was an intriguing, suggestive choice of introduction. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Hammond Jr.’s setlists never feature a single Strokes song, despite the rapture he knows they’d be received with.