It's been a while since I was last at the 100 Club, I won't say how long, but let's just say I was in my punk/new wave phase and Fatea wasn't even a paper magazine, to make matters worse there were a few in there that hadn't even been born when I made that previous visit, a number that included the headliners and fellow Fatea hack on my plus 1. My initial thoughts were that the décor doesn't seem to have changed much, well except for loads more pictures, an air of respectability and air you can breathe without feeling the need to gag. Oh yeah, the beer seems to be better.
Larkin Poe are definitely a band on a journey. The first time I saw the Lovell sisters, Megan and Rebecca, there was definitely a more innocent feel about them. They were playing more acoustic more stripped back, back then, but you always felt it was part of a path. A series of self released Eps and a whole bunch of touring has given them a chance to find their way into something that is still very much Larkin Poe, but with a harder edge.
I say edge, because if you listen to the songs, they are still deep rooted in things that interest, anything from a bit of a family row to literal appreciation, not surprising as a certain Edgar Allan Poe is a relative and one that, on this listening, may soon find himself superseded as the primary Poe.
In some ways the songs could be considered literary vignettes, short chapters put to music and delivered with no small amount of stage craft, including full blown guitar histrionics and a walk out into the audience, not a conventional act for the lap-steel player. The sisters filled their sound out with a rhythm section to give the newer material the full blooded sound it needs, but pleasingly, they also nodded back to the sounds that helped them develop their craft and the combination, for me lead to a classic set.
Naturally Larkin Poe weren't the only band playing, you can't claim a headline set when it's just you. Opening the night were Glasgow duo, Raintown a duo that skirt the edge between country music and Americana. Paul and Claire also happen to be a couple as well as a duo, something that came across during their set as there were certainly times you could pick up the intimacy of a lyric being reinforced by a glance across the stage and a responding smile. There was even talk of a new album as well as an Autumn tour.
Bridging the gap between Raintown and Larkin Poe was another rising star of the UK Country scene, Lucy May. Having supported Michael Bolton on his recent UK tour and released her debut album, "Whirlwind", following on from an EP of the same name, things really seem to be happening for her at the moment.
There's an almost Sixties feel to her country with a touch of a soul, gospel vibe sitting just below the surface. Well it sort of started that way, but gradually she increased the tempo, highlighting not only the contrasts in her own sounds, but also neatly building the atmosphere to the night's headliners, Larkin Poe.
There are only so many hours in a day and only so many gigs we can get to. We'd really like to expand our national coverage of the live scene as it remains the life blood of music.
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