I first heard about The Honey Box, when I was asked for my opinion on the logo a few months ago. It was an exciting prospect; local musicians performing live, in an intimate venue, whilst being live-streamed out to the world via the website. “A bit like Jools Holland, only with local musicians” is how Lee Barber, co-producer, put it to me. Born from his mind and shared with Peter Herbert of PH Production Services and Russell Coppock, The Honey Box is the first of its kind for Staffordshire.
So when the line-up for the first episode was announced, featuring The Kings Pistol, Macious and Mumbo Jimbo, much like the rest of the local music scene, I was pretty damn excited.
As I walked into King Street Studios on Sunday 6th November, I could feel the anticipation and excitement bouncing around the room. The studio itself was a good size, with two stages positioned on either side, as well as Chris Wilson from Bottle Craft providing bottled beers and Capri Sun’s for all. In between the two stages were chairs for the audience, as well as four cameras poised to go live at 4pm.
Presenter Benedict McManus introduced the performers, before allowing the social media world a quick glimpse of what to expect, a few minutes before the episode aired. There was a buzz about the room and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt like they were about to be part of something, that could seriously step up the local music scene. When the clock struck four, McManus and co-presenter Leah Hamer spoke with confidence as they introduced Macious an electronic artist from Berlin (but now living local). Pressing buttons, tweaking knobs and throwing all of his enjoyment and energy into his performance, Macious put on an impressive show. His music had audience members nodding their heads, tapping their feet and forgetting that they’d be back in work tomorrow. Although still a relatively fresh artist on the local music scene, it’s clear that Macious has an interesting future ahead of him and one that he should definitely be looking forward to.
And then there was Mumbo Jimbo, a.k.a Jim Mycock, a rapper that I was yet to encounter. Telling the audience that his influences came from overseas, he spoke poetry of the finest kind, with subject matter that was both relevant and engaging. More than that though, Mumbo Jimbo was refreshing on the ears. I can’t name many other local rap artists, active ones especially, so witnessing Mumbo Jimbo do his thing felt even more special. Joined on stage by fellow Exit Pupils member Average Joe, Mumbo Jimbo entertained the audience and made for a memorable first episode. Maybe this will be the start of something new and exciting in Staffordshire, but even if it isn’t, Mumbo Jimbo is leading the way in a scene that is in its exciting early stages.
The main act on the bill, and possibly the coolest and calmest of them all, was The Kings Pistol. Consisting of “The Pistol” himself Julian Casewell on vocals and acoustic guitar, Andy Shardlow on bass and Jim Farmer on drums, The Kings Pistol were on top form. Fresh from releasing their brand new single ‘Wedding Song’, complete with high quality music video, it was safe to assume that they were feeling a little bit good with themselves, and rightly so. Playing songs old and new, the three-piece seemed comfortable in front of the crowd and cameras. When quizzed by Leah Hamer about their vinyl-only second album, Casewell spoke of the thought of having someone somewhere pick up their record, in the way that many vinyl collectors do today, and want to play it and find out who The Kings Pistol are.
I could tell you who they are. I could tell you about their great music, great personalities, their undying love of making music together, of playing shows to empty rooms and crowded venues. Of putting one hundred and ten percent of their time, energy and money, into writing, recording and producing the best albums they possibly can. But really, all you need to do, is listen to their music and show your support. Because a time without The Kings Pistol, is something I don’t really want to think about.
When The Honey Box was over and the cameras were turned off, The Kings Pistol played one final track to the room of listeners, before calling it a day and heading home. There was a sense of achievement and relief about the place, from both artists and crew. Not only had Lee Barber, Peter Herbet, Russell Coppock, Leah Hamer, Benedict McManus, Chris Wilson and everyone else, pulled off an exciting and frankly superb first episode, but they’d also managed to kick start something that could put Staffordshire on the map. Here’s to Episode 2. I can’t wait.