The California Honeydrops held a rowdy singalong at the Sierra Nevada Big Room Monday night, to the great delight of a sold-out crowd of adoring fans. The lead vocalist, Lech Wierzynski, entreated the dancers to “Sing Along, Y’all,” as they rolled out several new songs from their upcoming third album, Like You Mean It, dropping April 19th.
Half the sold-out audience were on their feet within the first song, “I liked It Better When It Was Wrong.” The song showcased their New Orleans Jazz influence, and revealed more of Wierzynski’s bad boy side as he extolled the thrill of “….hiding out, sneaking out, making out…” with a forbidden love, only to have the thrill disappear once they broke up with their respective mates and formed a partnership. Careful what you wish for.
The California Honeydrops, formed in 2007, got their start playing in BART stations in Oakland. Johnny Bones, the jazzy saxophone player, leads the vibrant rhythm section with his New Orleans influence firmly established. Chris Burns, a veteran Oakland piano player, set up the infectious good vibes that propelled the crowd around the dance floor.
But the night belonged to Wierzynski as he held the swaying crowd in the palm of his hand during “Here Comes Love (Again),” the first song off their to-be-released album. Wierzynski—the band’s trumpeter, lead singer, and lead guitarist—spread honey on the crowd with his bayou lilt. I’m still scratching my head at the dissonance of combining a young man born in Warsaw, Poland, with bluesy N’awlins riffs and swaying Ray Charles-style vocals, punctuated by his amazing talent as a trumpeter.
The West Coast Tour continues through Portland and Seattle, ending at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, where the Honeydrops will reconnect with their blues roots.
The subject matter of their songs focused on “feeling love in your bones” and knowing when it’s right or not. Judging by the avid, dancing attendees who mouthed all the words to every song, the California Honeydrops have secured a home in the honeypots of Chico.