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Zoom@The Moon, London, 8 December 2007

As if by design Devon Allman's Honeytribe hit Zoom @ The Moon on the night of Devon's dad's 60th birthday. Given the fact his dad is Gregg Allman you might be forgiven for thinking young Devon might be overshadowed by the musical legacy of his family. But not a bit of it as refreshingly he is but one very talented quarter of his excellent Honytribe band.

Honeytribe are in fact a band with absolutely no slack and who conjure up moments of real inspiration and strike the perfect balance between their own material and occasional dabble with judiciously chosen covers from the past. The most important thing to stress is that this is a band rather than a name with hired hands. Honeytribe are a unit who thrive on pushing their musical parameters when the moment presents itself, and last night was such a moment. An expectant audience from all parts of the globe probably did come in to check out the kid with the famous name. But what we actually got was a superb band who stand and fall by their own efforts.

Devon himself is an effortless intuitive player with a great tone, and a soulful baritone voice. Not taken to either histrionics or a million notes a minute each solo is constructed within the feel of a particular song. No note is wasted and each tone inflection and wah wah is applied like a brush stroke and comes perfectly locked in between Jack Kirkner's smokin' organ lines and the muscular rhythm section of bassist George Potsos and powerhouse drummer Mark Oyarzabal.

Much of the live set brought to life the impressive 'Torch' album, and included the Santana and Hendrix influenced instrumental 'Mahalo', a lilting waltz called 'When 'I Come Home', and a full rock work out on 'Heaven has No Mercy'. By the time of the blistering blues and wah wah laden 'Perfect World' the band had certainly whipped up the crowd volume levels to the max and the powerful outing proved to be the perfect vehicle for some stunning playing. And as the band slipped in to jam mode on a sumptuous take of the Sonny Boy's 'One Way Out' - Allman's style - you could hear the blood line coming to life in front of your very eyes except of course that Honeytribe is all about the composite players and not just Devon.

The resulting interplay between with the rhythm section and front line players took the tension of the groove to its outer limits and such was the vibe that Honeytribe eschewed their set list and headed into in a rousing versions of 'Midnight Rider' and 'Melissa' for good measure. In a world of fatuous hyperbole and vacuous claims about any number of up and coming hopefuls, Honeytribe are the real deal. 'Torch' the title track of the band's debut album is a call to optimism and tonight the infectious mix of crunching riffs, baritone vocal and sweeping chorus proved to be their perfect calling card.

Refreshingly they have taken what Devon calls 'the old school route', gigging relentlessly and building the foundation blocks of their set night after night across, 245 States back in the US. This was their first UK visit, and given the rapturous reception there will surely be more.

Review by Pete Feenstra

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