Emily Jones || February 10th
On Sunday 5th February, local music lovers and musicians alike gathered at King Street Studios, for the fourth instalment of The Honey Box, a unique live music experience that is live streamed out across their website.
February's episode was a Music Awards of Staffordshire & Cheshire special, featuring Megan Dixon-Hood (Best Solo Act nominee), John Dhali (Best Solo Act and Best Music Video nominee) and Alter Eden (Best Rock Band and Best Music Video nominee).
As everyone took their seats and the cameras began to roll, John Dhali stepped up to the mic with his trusty stomp box and acoustic guitar, to play This Little Dance, taken from his self-titled EP released in 2015. There's something so beautifully real about the way Dhali writes and performs his music, which makes it hard for you to take your eyes off him. His love of life is evident, as he compares it to ‘a house with so many rooms’ in his latest single Only One, the video for which has received a nomination at the MASC. You don't really have to see him live to feel his personality in his lyrics, you can hear it in his voice. That was most definitely the case on Sunday, as he smiled his usual smile whilst effortlessly delivering his songs in front of the live audience, who received every track with tremendous amounts of applause.
Familiar faces Benedict McManus and Leah Hamer were on hand to provide their typical wit and humour to the show. Over the course of the last three episodes, the pair have developed a presenting style that's natural and laid back, making it pretty hard not to like them.
Across the other side of the studio space was previous MASC winner Megan Dixon-Hood, who took home the award for Best Single last year. It's easy to understand why. Observing her play a solo set is like watching magic happen in front of your eyes. Her fingers are steady as she holds them above the piano keys for the briefest of seconds, before playing Abigail, a dark single which shows off her vocal range beautifully. Megan Dixon-Hood is possibly my favourite female musician in the local music scene, combining feathery light vocals with her powerful stage presence. Her music is strong enough to blow anyone away and latest single With Time most definitely does that. Inside the four walls of King Street Studio you could hear a pin drop, each time Megan played a song from her set. Even if she walks away from the MASC empty handed (which I doubt she will), she should remember that her voice makes the hairs on my arms stand to attention and her music could make even the toughest of men shed a tear.
In complete contrast to the two acts that they were sharing the lineup with, Alter Eden made their very best attempt to make their mark on The Honey Box. They were by far the loudest band that have stepped into King Street Studios so far, emphasised by the fact that Dhali and Dixon-Hood were relatively acoustic. They left my ears ringing with Tigers & Lambs and MASC nominated Colourless for Best Music Video. Front man Nick Pilgrim came complete with a step, which he used to enhance his presence in front of the cameras and audience. You could be sure that Alter Eden was a name you weren't going to forget easily.
After four episodes and twelve local acts, The Honey Box continues to excite musicians and listeners alike, whilst introducing everyone to the talent that Staffordshire and Cheshire has to offer.