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Dirty Honey // Live @ Bogart’s // 11.12.23

Article & Photos by: Linda Carlson

Cincinnati, OH – As Los Angeles band Dirty Honey continues their headlining ‘Can’t Find The Brakes’ North American tour, the band, teamed with opener Austin Meade, offered a Cincinnati crowd a mega dose of rock on an otherwise quiet Sunday night.

Dirty Honey is on an enviable trajectory for a classic rock band.  They have opened for rock icons The Who, The Black Crowes, and Guns N’ Roses, and toured alongside Mammoth WVH on their ‘Young Guns’ tour.  They’ve hit the festival circuit as well, introducing their music to rock enthusiasts eager to find a fresh take on a beloved genre that is frequently overlooked by mainstream outlets that tend to favor contemporary pop musicians.

Dirty Honey

How does a contemporary band breathe new life into the classic rock genre?  Just ask Dirty Honey, because they are making it happen.  The band taps into classic rock elements – there is a tone to Marc Labelle’s vocals that is reminiscent of Led Zeppelin, while the chords and beats are easy and swayful, yet gritty and grinding, all packaged in a styling that is suave with an edgy vibe.  From sunglasses to wide-brim hats to a hip, young swag – the band exudes confident coolness.  They have the “it” factor on steroids, earned through their music and complemented by their branding.

With their bluesy edge, this is a band that takes rock ‘n roll to rock ‘n soul.


Dirty Honey

The band is touring to promote their latest album (released November 3, 2023), Can’t Find The Brakes, aptly titled to highlight their all-out unstoppable rock energy, with John Notto (guitar), Justin Smolian (bass), and newcomer Jaydon Bean (drums) accompanying Labelle’s vocals.  The album’s initial single, “Won’t Take Me Alive,” was released in July, followed more recently by “Coming Home,” a more heart-wrenching song that demonstrates the band’s emotional and musical range.

Dirty Honey, Justin Smolian

The band’s set (and three-song encore) included original songs (“Can’t Find The Brakes,” “Don’t Put Out The Fire,” “Coming Home,” among others), but explosive covers as well (“Honky Tonk Women,” “Let’s Go Crazy).  They closed the night with “Rolling 7s.”  Numerous solos peppered the evening, and Labelle spoke to the audience a number of times, appreciative of a Sunday night concert crowd, thanking as well their dedicated road crew.

Opening for the night was Austin Meade, a rousing rock band headed by a young vocalist with classic rock energy that complements Dirty Honey on this tour.

Austin Meade

The ‘Can’t Find The Brakes Tour’ continues in North America well into December, so there’s still time to catch a show.  The band heads to the United Kingdom in February, performing throughout Europe into March 2024.  Check Dirty Honey’s website for upcoming tour info:

Be sure so check out more photos from the Cincinnati show in the carousel below!

Linda Carlson
Linda has been photographing people since she was ten. Forever intrigued by the complex beauty of the human form, she brings the eye of a portraitist to the unpredictability and spectacle of the concert scene.