“We’re all here because we all believe in the power of live music!” – Rebecca Lovell
If you could devise the perfect recipe for a live concert; mixing in the energy of the crowd and the band, blues rock bangers with a lap steel guitar, deep resonant vocals, sick riffs, southern charm, one of the best music venues in the USA, a birthday cupcake, and a flood of multi-hued pulsating lights, you would be giddy with the results of the Larkin Poe concert at the 9:30 Club on March 9th. Likely your next step would be to chase that high again and again. They were definitely riding high that night, and the basically sold out crowd couldn’t get enough.
The band stormed the 9:30 Club stage, emboldened by the intensity of the iconic intro to Cream’s “White Room”. They went right to work with their recent single, “Strike Gold”. Every once in awhile I hear a song that I can’t stop playing on repeat, and I’ve been chasing the high with this song in particular leading up to the show. Love it. I’ll play again right now.
Larkin Poe is an American roots/blues rock band (aka Southern rock) comprised of sisters Rebecca Lovell (vocals and guitar) and Megan Lovell (lap steel guitar and harmony vocals), with Kevin McGowan (drums) and Tarka Layman (bass). Rebecca and Megan, originally from Georgia and currently living in Nashville, started performing in this band in 2010. But before Larkin Poe, their first band created in 2005 was the Lovell Sisters, where they performed with their other sister Jessica.
They are touring for their sixth studio album, Blood Harmony (via Tricki-Woo Records), polished and shiny with blues heavy guitars. It was recorded in Rebecca’s home studio and co-produced by Tyler Bryant (also Rebecca’s husband). As they describe it, ‘Blood Harmony is a creative step we are proud to have taken together as sisters. We grew these songs in a sweet part of our hearts and we hope they bring beauty.’ They have also released a solid catalog of EPs, along with a live album. On this evening, they performed 16 songs in total, including eight incredible tracks from Blood Harmony. Get the album immediately.
The first three songs were from Blood Harmony (along with four of the last five). The third song was “Summertime Sunset”, its funky cool guitar intro and Rebecca’s croon about a bad ass woman that is so stunning she burns as hot and bright as a summertime sunset, would be the perfect way to start and finish your next top down, police evading road trip.
Helping the mood, behind the stage looming large, there was a circle that contained the band’s logo. Yet the inside of the circle never stayed still, we witnessed storms, moons, and color patterns that brought extra life to the guitar riffs. Megan performs with a lap steel guitar hanging from her neck, and was in constant motion, dancing or moving from one side of the stage to the other, mugging for the crowd. Rebecca also used the whole stage, never without with one of her multiple guitars. In all the sensory overload, the sisters loved coming together and jamming for each other face-to-face, as if no one else existed.
Later came “She’s a Self Made Man” (from 2020’s album Self Made Man), to which Rebecca shared that she ‘wrote it for myself, my sister, and all the women in the crowd’. It speaks to defying expectations, and not being confined to what the world expects of you. Yes, women can be successful too. Rather, hell yes.
Rebecca talked about the importance of “Mad As a Hatter” to her, ‘It’s really important that we try to play this song every show. I wrote it when I was 15 to look out for others.’ The song speaks to mental illness in the family, something they experienced first hand with their grandfather. They only recently released the song on their 2021 live album (Paint the Roses), despite having written it much earlier. Ironically, the sweeping tone and mood it ensconced while performed live reminds one of a gifted storyteller telling a tale set in that crazy world down the rabbit hole.
“Bad Spell” was written as a tribute to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You”, but adding cheekily that the spell was not so good. If you’re asking for a single song to showcase Larkin Poe’s musical aesthetic, something akin to barn burning, guitar-driven blues rock, with towering vocals, “Bad Spell” is the answer. It will not disappoint.
The encore “Deep Stays Down”, the lead track from Blood Harmony, brings the energy way down, and you have a moment to reflect on the excellent show that was. But that moment is unabashedly interrupted with a crescendo of Southern rock riffs that put a pin on the song and the show. As the visibly moved crowd shuffled from the 9:30 Club, I took a moment to devour my birthday cupcake.
Acquaint yourself with Larkin Poe if you haven’t yet. To yourself a favor, chase that high.
(Intro of “White Room” by Cream)
- Strike Gold
- Kick the Blues
- Summertime Sunset
- Preachin’ Blues
- Blue Ridge Mountains
- She’s A Self Made Man
- Southern Comfort
- Holy Ghost Fire
- Bleach Blonde Bottle Blues
- Back Down South
- Mad As a Hatter
- Might as Well Be Me
- Bad Spell
- Wanted Women / AC/DC
- Bolt Cutters & The Family Name
- Deep Stays Down