with Amber Saqladi & Honey Blue
On walking into the notorious venue I was greeted by the lovely Sue Lavender co-owner of the Soundhouse. After a quick catch up I asked where I could find my good friend and star of the show Andrea Kenny. I was told I could find her backstage where most of the pre-show magic happens.
On entering the green room I was welcomed by a very charismatic Andrea, who was dressed for the occasion in a cut off sleeve denim jacket and chains to match. She told me I was in for a surprise that night which I will reveal to you later on. Let’s just say I was more than hyped up for this gig so I left her to prepare and took my seat near the front of the stage.
Kicking things off was the duo Honey Blue which consisted of Lead Singer/Guitarist Michael O’Hara and Drummer Alex Bryne. Born out of lockdown, the boys have been concocting a number of songs together in their bedrooms and were ready to show them off for the first time in front of a live audience.
They opened the show up with their song Take My Medicine which began with a selection of reverberated chords and exploded into a Cage The Elephant style riff; a fitting first song to grasp the audience’s attention. They quickly rolled into their next song The Strain, a 90’s style indie/rock anthem which you can listen to on their Instagram page. Their song Hold On bearing the lyrics “brighter days will find you” were certainly so much needed words we all need to hear coming out of lockdown.
The boys took one last sip of their pints before finishing off with their song Thing You Say. Catching up with Alex after the show, he mentioned that they were recording with the HQ Familia gang and hoped to release some songs very soon. Be sure to follow the boys on social media for updates and posts.
Next to walk on stage was Amber Saqladi, carrying the voice of Taylor Swift with the attire of Amy Winehouse. Singing like an angel, Amber began with her song All the Angels which was described as “having to let go of a relationship you worked hard on and hoping one day things would work out”.
Her next song Save Yourself which was the first song she ever wrote at the age of 15, became very relevant to her in later years, and was about saving yourself from a toxic relationship. Her angriest but most favourite song Pulling the Wool Down which we can all relate to, depicts a past love pulling the wool over her eyes blinding her from the truth.
She then hit us all with a cover of Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black where an ambient light of dark red shone behind her creating a gothic picture. To top off her performance she was joined on stage by Honey Blue’s Michael O’Hara to perform their collaboration song Summer Rain.
After speaking with Amber backstage, Amber had informed me that she and Michael were currently recording Summer Rain with HQ’s very own producer Tayo. She hopes to get the recording finished in a couple of weeks and will be sure to inform her followers of its release date. Be sure to check Amber’s live stream performance on Youtube and give her a follow on social media.
It was time! The star of the show, the rockstar herself, Andrea Kenny, to grace us with her magnetic presence for her first headline in many moons! Her first port of call was to ask a member of the audience to live stream the gig for those who could not be there in attendance. During this period drummer Malcolm D’sa of GU-RU and Tash Pattinson of Mountaintop Junkshop quickly filled the void with some light jamming and would be accompanying Andrea this evening under the banner Token Boy.
“To those of you who don’t know who the **** I am” she screamed! “I am Andrea Kenny, and there are more pronunciations of my name than there are strains of COVID.”; the crowd cheered with laughter! With a tiger stripe arm at the ready she burst into her first song with a tiger-like ferocity, trashing her pixie mullet to and fro!
Her song Undone which she hopes to release in November was so energetic the crowd couldn’t help but stamp their feet. Andrea then went into a more mellow setting with her song Dandelion Honey written in lockdown which illustrates the struggles of mental health in such an unprecedented time.
To finish things off Andrea played Down the River from her previous band The Brandy Thieves which would be a fitting end as she was about to reveal her surprise encore… A Brandy Thieves Revival! (Well sort of). Bassist Cain Barriskill and Trumpeter Joe Tapley joined Andrea on stage to play some Brandy Thieves favourites. It had been a minute since the three of them had been on stage together, and with only a 20 minute rehearsal before the show and belly full of beer, I’d say they did the revival justice!
Be sure to check out Andrea Kenny on both Social Media as she is currently developing her debut album and if it’s anything like her performance, it’s gonna be a banger.
Reviewed by Matt Bury
Release date 20 August 2021
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