Honeyblood + Estrons @ The Liquid Room, Edinburgh 22nd April 2017
After missing the opening act, Lucia, my arrival at Edinburgh’s The Liquid Room was greeted by Estrons. A sort of peculiar lovechild of Sonic Youth and Skunk Anansie, these Welsh rockers are too polished to be outright punk and yet too off-kilter to be quite the mainstream heavy rock band implied by the appearance of hirsute drummer Toby Bang. They work well thanks to some solid material and the undeniable presence of frontwoman Tali Källström, who twists and coils compellingly like a crazed viper in sync with her piercing vocal gymnastics. As a warm-up to the main event, they’re hot enough. “Estron” is the Welsh word for “alien”, incidentally.
When Glaswegian pop-punk two-piece arrive on stage and belt through their body of superb material, it takes time to sink in that there aren’t more members in their band. Their huge sound could so easily have come from a band of four but here they are: just Stina Marie Claire Tweeddale on guitar, Cat Myers on drums and the pair sharing vocal duties. Their vocal harmonies are like a female Beatles, with half of the number of members making up the difference in band size via a sheer combination of heart and brass. “Babes Never Die” is a letter of defiant positive female punkery to the whole wide world, “Sea Hearts” a joyous rainbow of bounciness, “Super Rats” an atmospheric pop-rock dream that Nirvana would have been proud of, and “Choker” showcases the band’s darker edge with a supremely memorable chorus.
The set just breezes by on the duo’s tight playing and sparkly personalities. During one hilarious interlude, they dedicate an impromptu R’n’B track to one particular audience member. They even cut through the usual “customary encore” bullshit by saying “we’ll just play a couple more songs, is that OK?” I previously saw Honeyblood late last year at St. Luke’s in Glasgow with PINS in support. As with the latter band they know how to build up a rapport with the audience. It’s exactly the kind of behaviour that has the punters coming back for more the next time they play in town.