A musical duo from LA called HONEYHONEY made their presence known far away from home last night as they commanded the stage at Valparaiso’s Memorial Opera House. As Imagine Music’s second show of the 2016 season HONEYHONEY, a band whose music could be loosely described as a genre bending Americana/Folk/Alternative, brought the walls to shake and the crowd to their feet with a set that included new, old material and a few covers. With no need for a big production Suzanne Santo, Ben Jaffe, and their drummer took energy, talent, and brawn together to make it a show that deserved it’s standing ovation.
HONEYHONEY drew in varied audience - the show brought in first-time listeners, curious Imagine Music regulars, and HONEYHONEY fans from across the midwest. Before the band took the stage, the attendees were waiting in eager anticipation - whether they had seen the duo live before or not. Jesse Chieffo, who traveled from Madison, Wisconsin to the Opera House said that he had seen the band a couple years ago at a bar in Madison and had been looking for a chance to see them live again ever since.
“There really hasn’t been an opportunity for us up there to see them, so this came up and it seemed like a good thing to take up.” Chieffo stated. “Being in this theater is much better than the situation we saw them in last time - you get the chance to sit and listen. They were good live then, and I’m expecting tonight to be even better.”
Despite not knowing what they can do in a bar-sized environment, their presence certainly filled the theater. After a talented opening act, HONEYHONEY started off slow but certainly picked up the pace. With Santo displaying her variety of talents of a raw voice while playing the banjo and fiddle, along with Jaffe keeping steady on the guitar while helping to supply great harmonies, there was no reason to have more than the three piece on stage. Standing ovations occurred throughout the night, along with the audience demanding an encore - which Santo stated as something they don’t pass up.
“We opened for bands for quite a bit, so when there’s a reaction like this we don’t take advantage of it.” Santo stated. She also went on to explain that the show was a real highlight in their touring schedule.
“We have recently played a storefront in Madison and a sticky bar in Bloomington, so coming to this beautiful venue is real treat for us. We don’t get to play Opera Houses that often. This is something we’re enjoying as much as everyone else.”
When it was all said and done and patrons started to filter out, there were still audience members expressing how fascinated they were with the act. Jeff Bisen, who had known little about the band before walking past the Opera House doors, had been vocal throughout the performance on how much they left an impression.
“I had only gave them a listen on Spotify a bit ago to see what they were about before tonight, and they exceeded what I could’ve expected.” Bisen stated. “It was a very, very good show. One of the best that I’ve seen here.”
As the night came to a close it was evident to everyone who saw HONEYHONEY play on Saturday night - that history repeats itself with Imagine Music shows. Each have been great, and all have been getting better and better. Soon Imagine Music will host a old out performance of The Lone Bellow, but HONEYHONEY’s performance will certainly hold over as a great night in the memory of everyone involved.