Retrovision is defined as a vision of events in the distant past. One may interpret it as the reflection of what was, but I think the more important piece to the puzzle of passing time is that reflection can occur in the context of newly learned experiences and perspectives. Strength appears when one has chosen to persevere the past and become better for it, a motivating reminder I received thanks to Honey Revenge.
On Tuesday, August 1st, I stood alongside a room full of giddy pop rock fans in Philadelphia at the Foundry; we were waiting for LA’s Honey Revenge to take the stage. This stop marked a month-long trek across the US with tourmates Arrows in Action for them, a feat the band seemed to navigate with nothing but smiles. The band’s genuine love for music and connecting with their listeners was palpable in mere seconds of running on stage, warmth oozing into the crowd of eager fans ready to prove their devotion to Honey Revenge through precisely sung lyrics (a task the crowd immediately achieved with flying colors).
Each member of Honey Revenge had this bright and bubbly personality that absolutely shone. Vocalist Devin Papadol used the entire stage to her advantage as she danced the night away and guitarist Donny Lloyd gleefully leaned into the crowd as their ear-to-ear smile continuously illuminated the entire room (along with their matching sparkly pink guitar and crocs duo). The presence of touring bassist Tay Fischer and drummer Matt Arsenault was just as strong with Fischer’s enthusiastic kicks to the air and Arsenault’s drum taps to keep the beat alive; it was clear these four shared undefeatable companionships which only further elevated their show.
The band rolled into their set with “Airhead,” the first track off of their brand new debut record, Retrovision, which released this past June via Thriller Records. The undeniable catchiness of this song (and every song Honey Revenge played) only made it natural for the room to meet its energy; earworms danced their way into everyone’s heads and took control of whatever corner of the brain allows the body to move freely. Honey Revenge was infectious in the best possible meaning of the word.
Once Honey Revenge peeled their first layer back, their second layer revealed strikingly self-deprecating lyrics. The liveliness that radiated from the wildly talented performers stood in front of us made it hard to believe they once felt defeat at all. It’s this realization that set the tone for the entire night; we were here to relate, accept the feelings and experiences that make us human, and ultimately, prove our ability in conquering them.
Processing their performance in this way was eye-opening. Lyrically, some of their songs covered grappling with negative mindsets and rocky relationships long gone, but the way they moved, and the way the music moved them, indicated an admirable growth. It’s this act of catharsis that seemed to fuel their triumph over all of the difficult things their songs discussed and give them the ability to strut on stage with such a sweet fire.
“Worst Apology” juxtaposed the track that preceded it powerfully as it screamed “Hey, I’m standing up for myself because I deserve better!” energy. Honey Revenge expressed their bubbliness and introspective vulnerability, yes, but not without packing a punch in strong-willed songs of self-induced solidity and an energized ferocity. This served as a reminder that moments of fragility inform strong people and that everyone is capable of looking within themselves to uncover their own ferocious voice.
“Miss Me,” the band’s very first single which released in 2021, was another song that exuded empowerment. Together, Papadol and the crowd blissfully sang “Miss me with the bullshit / Miss me with the ‘How you been?’” It was a playful I-know-my-worth-and-I’ll-let-everyone-know-it anthem that everyone reveled in. Crowdsurfers floated above a driven chorus of people, proving what a little bit of the band’s motivation can do to a person’s spirit.
Toward the end of their set, Honey Revenge pulled out “Favorite Song” and used it as an opportunity to do a couple of things; first, inspire a conga line in the crowd and second, express gratitude for their supporters. As Papadol sang “You’re my favorite, you’re my favorite, you’re my favorite song,” she moved across the stage and directed her finger to what felt like every individual in the room. Out of it beamed appreciation, an innocent moment that elated those just crowned their favorite band’s favorite song.
When all was said and done, the most unforgettable takeaway of the night was that Honey Revenge had this incredible charm bolstered by a special sense of dichotomy; equal parts sweet-as-honey and tough-as-revenge concocted to serve a satisfying dose of spirited pop rock spice.
If you’re seeking out music like this, be sure to give Retrovision a listen and experience Honey Revenge’s live show in your city as they finish out their tour with Arrows in Action!
Show Date: 08.01.23 | Philadelphia, PA @ The Foundry | Honey Revenge Spirited Pop Rock Spice