|Rebecca Lovell and Megan Lovell|
This short, date-wise, UK stint of a more expansive European tour started with a celebrated invitation to flank fellow state of Georgia native Kristian Bush in front of a packed O2 Arena at the Country-2-Country Festival in London. The subsequent dates on from that exalting experience have been markedly low key in comparison but on this evening a couple of hundred eager fans almost filled the auditorium at this impressive and well funded Oxfordshire arts centre. Instead of supporting one half of super group Sugarland, tonight Rebecca and Megan Lovell are back in the day job fronting the current four-piece Larkin Poe line up featuring Marlon Patton on percussion and Robby Handley on bass. The sound of much of the new songs previewed during the set had a rockier feel than earlier material but this is just one of the many influences that enhance a Larkin Poe live experience.
In the last couple of years the band have released the four seasonal EPs, another excellent short collection titled THICK AS THIEVES, the upcoming work with Blair and a recently released full length collaboration with acclaimed Norwegian singer songwriter Thomas Hell. While all these recordings have their merits, this evening was very much based on the imminent forthcoming full length solely Larkin Poe album. You now begin to see the vibrancy and buoyancy of the band. As stated the new material has a greater full on electric vibe and amongst the songs previewed ‘Sugar High’ reflected this sound probably the most although the set opener ‘Trick of Light’, ‘Voodoo Doll’ and ‘Try to Trust Me’ came across well.
|Blair Dunlop joins the band for a couple of songs|
The appeal of a Larkin Poe live gig centres on the effervescent personality of Rebecca when providing lead vocals, alongside her array of stringed instruments, and the sumptuous lap steel guitar playing of Megan. The blending of this traditional twang is equally as effective with the bluesy rock numbers especially set closer ‘Jailbreak’ as well as with the tender mandolin on the spiritual standard ‘Wade in the Water’. As you would expect the sibling harmonies are in evidence, no more greater exemplified than the delightful encore when in old time style, the guys departed and the girls sang a wonderful acoustic number ‘Take Me Back’ around a single mic. This proved a sublime and precious moment to end the evening.
So strap on your seatbelts and prepare yourself for the next instalment of the Larkin Poe Americana odyssey. The UK festival scene will once again be hosting them this summer including the prestigious Cambridge Folk Festival, where fans of the rock side of that genre will be in for a treat.
Larkin Poe - Play On