Larkin Poe – 6th April 2019 – Newcastle Riverside – Review and photos
Review and photos by Rebecca Burgess
The world has seen its’ fair share of legendary pairings over the years; Simon and Garfunkel, Sam and Dave, Batman and Robin, Fish and Chips. A fine addition to this list is the Lovell sisters, Megan and Rebecca, who make up modern blues root-rock band, Larkin Poe.
With a name inspired by their great-great-great-great-grandfather, Edgar Allan Poe, the sisters combine their lyrical poetry with southern harmonies, foot-stomping riffs, slide-guitar and gritty vocals.
Before the set began, I met a gentleman camped out in the front row who had followed the duo, attending all of their shows on their 19 date UK tour. It wasn’t long before it was clear to see why.
Kicking off the show with ‘Summertime Sunset’, the crowd were instantly transported from a wet and dreary Newcastle to the sunny land of Southern America. The lyric, ‘I’m a bad little angel. I fell from grace’ from the catchy ‘Trouble in Mind’ seems the perfect summary for the pitch-perfect harmonies provided by Slide Queen, Megan Lovell, which perfectly accompanied the raw vocals of younger sister Rebecca.
Showing that they can hold their own with the legends of blues and reinvent it in a modern era, the sisters put their own take on the Lead Belly classic, ‘Black Betty’. As if this weren’t enough to secure their status as the future of blues rock, the duo followed with ‘Bleach Blonde Bottle Blues’ from their most recent studio album, ‘Venom & Faith’. The album itself contains the perfect mix of traditional style songs, with more modern influenced tracks such as ‘Look Away’.
Soon it was time for the Slide Queen to take centre stage, with a rendition of Son House’s ‘Preachin’ Blues’, proving that the sisters were some of the finest musicians to come out of America in recent years. The US flare was further shown with ‘Freedom’ before it was time for the multi-instrumentalists to invite a banjo into the mix with ‘California King’ and a cover of ‘John the Revelator’. It is fair to say the that sisters are a perfect example of authentic Southern blues, root-rock.
Slowing it down a little, Rebecca provided a beautiful vocal to the touching ballad, ‘Might as Well Be Me’. Further demonstrating the sister’s musical versatility, the duo perfectly transitioned back into the bluesy ‘Black Echo’ and foot-stomping ‘Hard Time Killing Floor Blues’.
Taking time out in the set to talk about mental health, something close to the sister’s hearts, the origin of the meaningful and mesmerising ‘Mad as a Hatter’ was revealed, with the pair hoping that the lyrics could help others get through the hardships of mental illness, as it has done for them.
‘Run for your money’ was a perfectly applicable title as the crowd undoubtedly would be heading to the merch stand on their way out to bag themselves all of Larkin Poe’s bluesy back catalogue, with not even the ‘Blue Ridge Mountains’ able to stop them.
Closing of the set was a rendition of AC/DC’s ‘Wanted Woman’ before a stripped back and raw encore of Robert Johnson’s ‘Come on in My Kitchen’ transporting the whole venue to a rocking chair on a white decked front porch in Georgia.
Edgar Allen Poe famously said; ‘All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.’ Well, this night was a dream that the Newcastle crowd certainly didn’t want to wake up from and the sisters too can start to dream big as success is certainly in their future.
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