Larkin Poe

Live Review | Slaughtered Lamb, London | Review by Allan Wilkinson

Larkin Poe made a welcome return to London tonight with an appearance at the Slaughtered Lamb in the Islington area of the city. Approaching the end of their three week tour of Europe, the Georgia-based band led by siblings Rebecca and Megan Lovell were in playful mood once again as they delivered a superb set of songs from each of their four ‘season’ EPs of 2010, together with a preview of their yet to be officially released Thick As Thieves EP. Starting with the bluesy “The Principle of Silver Lining”, the band, which also includes regular drummer Chad Melton and guitarist Rick Lollar, treated the audience to a range of exciting songs from their steadily growing repertoire of self-penned numbers such as “Burglary”, “Trance” and “We Intertwine” together with their infectious cover of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop”, before going on to delight their audience further with a handful of newer songs such as “Celebrate”, “Fox”, “Play On”, “Love or Money” and the quirky “On the Fritz”.

In an almost unprecedented whirlwind rise in popularity over the last year or so, Rebecca and Megan, who previously toured with older sister Jessica under the name The Lovell Sisters, have transformed their core bluegrass sound to encompass rock and pop elements, which suitably reflects Rebecca Lovell’s outgoing and confident personality, which in turn perfectly serves as a counterpoint to sister Megan’s quiet, almost angelic and temperate nature. Megan Lovell may be the ‘studious’ one but that doesn’t inhibit her from making some of the most seriously meaty rock riffs on her trademark lap steel one moment, whilst emoting gently on her dobro the next. Occasionally troubled by a faulty mandolin lead, Rebecca overcame the problem by demonstrating true professionalism, joking around and taking lightly an otherwise frustrating moment, whilst drummer Chad suffered a retreating drum kit midway through his solo in the final number, with the band springing into action in order to hold back the decamping kit, whilst not missing a single beat.

With the Lovell sisters’ father in the audience especially for the occasion, together with Chad’s wife Sarah, not to mention the Barnsley branch of the Larkin Poe fan club, formed during the band’s appearance at the Barnsley Festival earlier this year and to which this reviewer is a fully paid up member, there was an inevitable air of celebration tonight. The two support acts Brooke Parrott and Early Ghost were very much in on the celebrations, contributing in no small part to the success of the evening. Finishing with their regular bluesy closer, the old Jimi Hendrix number “Bleeding Heart”, the sisters returned for the one encore, a totally acoustic performance of Megan’s gorgeous “Subway Song”. A superb night.