There are combinations in this world that just work. Peanut butter and chocolate, cheeseburgers and fries, pineapple and ham. The Stews and Easy Honey are no strangers to this phenomenon. The duel headliners brought their expertly crafted array of sounds to the Music Farm, for two rowdy sold-out nights. These two bands were a tour de force and let it all out on the stage. Honey Stew put on an epic show with two jaw-dropping sets. It was loud, energetic, and sweaty as hell.
The Stews took to the stage. Preston Hall (lead vocals and guitar), Blake Dobbs (guitar), Bennett Baugus (bass), and Wyatt Griffith (drums) teed up the crowd, opening with the absolute banger “9-5” from their 2021 self-titled EP. “9-5” is the perfect example of The Stew's organic mixture of sounds. Preston made his guitar weep with the opening licks and Bennett Baugus’ bass and Blake Dobbs's guitar drew the crowd in. Once the audience was captivated, the song switched gears, morphing into heavy guitar riffs, and booming bluesy lyrics. They brought the heat right out of the gate. The crowd was amped. When the band played “Fireline” from What Was (2022). The crowd completely erupted into a sea of rocking bodies. Another prime example of The Stews' refusal to be prisoners to any one sound or genre. Preston’s voice was intimate and soulful before it exploded through the venue. He took to the front of the stage and shredded on the track’s guitar solo. The crowd extended their arms, stretching to get closer to the heat coming off the six strings. The Stews proved they have massive musical talent, packing big sounds in a fresh-faced package.
Easy Honey closed out the night and they were greeted by the roar of an already electrified crowd. Duel frontmen Darby McGlone (vocals, guitar) and Selby Austin (vocals, guitar) strutted to the stage accompanied by bandmates Charlie Holt (drums), and Webster Austin (bass). These guys came out grinning, their smiles almost said, “Two can play that game”. These boys may have originated in landlocked Tennessee but they have a grunge, alternative surfer rock sound like they belong to the coast. Darby kicked off his shoes and tapped the flange pedal. The guitar rang out with the opening waves of the song “Leo” from the band's 2020 EP Maritime Love Affair, Pt. I . A shining example of the sound Easy Honey has perfected. Sun-drenched instrumentals, and melancholic vocals, with a splash of grunge guitar, that culminated in a fun duelling guitar show-off from the two leads. Things heated up when the incredibly catchy tune “The Gruel” filled the Farm. To me, this song is reminiscent of some of the Pixies' best work, and I am here for it. Selby shined on the guitar, embellishing with surgical expertise while the crowd sang the catchy chorus. Easy Honey, made it clear they were here to have fun. When the band performed “Orbiter” from their latest EP Oooo the audience went nuts. Rightfully so, the song is infectiously catchy. The guitar riffs were dreamy, the bass was funky, and the drums fast-paced. Easy Honey has an impressive talent for producing a laid-back sound while maintaining energetic instrumentals.
The combination of The Stews and Easy Honey is an absolute winner. Their sounds and performance were complementary to one another, ultimately delivering two great sets. They have both proven beyond a reasonable doubt that they are massive talents. They have managed to capture the energy, atmosphere, and enthusiasm of an epic garage band and brought it to the big stage. The show felt like a night with friends, a night that deep down you didn't want to end.