The roots-rock duo Larkin Poe stopped by the Slowdown Thursday (9/16) and took us to church!
As a brand, Monster Energy has their hand in a lot different areas, mostly extreme sports like motocross, snowboarding, MMA fighting, truck rallies, etc. You've seen the memes for the "Kyle starter-pack", a guy with ripped jeans, a Monster Energy drink, a Ford Mustang, and a Tapout shirt. Here in the Midwest you don't have to look too far to see this person in real life.
So when a metal tour comes to town and the line-up is let's say "Disturbed with Five Finger Death Punch and Rob Zombie sponsored by Monster Energy" that totally makes sense. But when I saw that Larkin Poe's "Outbreak" tour was sponsored by Monster I was a bit surprised. As a casual observer I thought I would be seeing a blues act with a bit of pop-rock soul. After witnessing the rock and roll spiritual that Larkin Poe blessed the Slowdown with I can tell you that these young ladies rocked just as hard, if not harder, than any Monster Energy tour I've ever seen!
To back up for just a second, Larkin Poe is a multi-instrumentalist sister duo, comprised of the Atlanta-bred, Nashville-based Rebecca and Megan Lovell. Together they've released five studio albums, several E.P.s and a live album. They've toured all around the world with their band and as a backing band for notable musicians including Elvis Costello, Keith Urban, Kristian Bush of Sugarland and even Omaha folk legend Connor Oberst!
As I just mentioned above, Larkin Poe has a brand-new live album that just dropped Friday (9/17) called Paint The Roses: Larkin Poe with Nu Deco Ensemble. This seven song collection takes Larkin Poe's music and reinterprets it through an orchestral lens. The addition of the string section, wood winds, and steel drums really adds an extra layer of flavor to the southern gothic sounds. Give it a listen on all major platforms or pick up the vinyl HERE.
While listening to new albums is great, you know what's even better? Seeing it LIVE!
Before Larkin Poe exorcised the demons and baptized the crowd in the sea of rock and roll, the band The Cold Stares graced us with a 30 minute set of sultry blues rock.
According to The Cold Stares website, "Formed in 2010 after the duo had spent a number of years in other bands, Chris Tapp and Brian Mullins got together for the sole reason to just jam. No preconceived notions on what the project should be. Just do what comes naturally. The result is a hard rocking, story based brand of rock and roll that is sung from the soul."
The first thing I noticed about the band is how full they sound. With only guitar and drums the songs weren't really lacking on bass tone. I'm not sure if that was a product of Chris' guitar rig or Brian's giant bass drum, but you would almost think they were piping in sound from behind the curtain or something. While the band's primary sound is blues-rock I would put a major emphasis on the rock. They had an awesome hard edge that really kicked you in the chest.
The highlight for me was their killer cover of "Whipping Post" by the Allman Brothers. While the Allman Brothers version does rock, The Cold Stares just had this tasty crunchiness in their sound that just punched a little harder. The band closed with their song "Suffer Me" which was recently featured in the video game Cyber Punk: 2077. I know the game had a bit of mixed reviews, but it was one of the biggest releases last year, so that's a pretty cool move for The Cold Stares! The band's latest release Heavy Shoes is available now on all platforms.
Towards the end of The Cold Stares' set The Slowdown was starting to get pretty packed. It was great to see so many people showing up on a Thursday to rock out! While I was waiting for Larkin Poe's set I met a new buddy John who was wearing a Grateful Dead shirt. I told him about my buddy Cam who's a bit younger than me, but has an old soul. He sends me YouTube links of Dead shows and Jerry Garcia stuff. I have an appreciation, but I've never really gone down the rabbit hole. John told me about his collection of Grateful Dead CDs and how there's so many live shows recorded that I should keep trying to get into it. I told him a joke I once heard about the Grateful Dead. A younger kid asks an old GD fan "I've heard about the Grateful Dead. If I wanted to check it out where should I start?" The GD fan says "Don't bother!" To each his own I guess.
After everyone around me had a chance to grab some more beers, or like a few folks the front, take some pills (that did not look prescription), Larkin Poe was ready to take the stage!
There weren't too many frills when it came to the set up, just a few stand up lights in the back and some glowing Monster Energy Ms on the sides. This band wasn't here to mess around! Larkin Poe started things off with "Self Made Man" the title track to their 2020 studio album.
Younger sister Rebecca took the high notes and older sister Megan took the low. When mixed together they pulled off some beautiful harmonies. Rebecca, playing lead guitar strutted her stuff, while Megan with her guitar turned on its side shredded the slide providing that signature southern twang.
Larkin Poe kept things rocking with "Keep Diggin" from the same Self Made Man release. The driving force of the song are the hand claps so this went over great live. Next was the sticky sweet "Trouble In Mind". Don't let the sweetness fool you though, these ladies are some bad muthas.
I steal my cigs from the seven six
Smokin' up in church up to all my tricks
I'm a bad little angel, I fell from grace
Georgia peach gone bad, yeah you know the taste
I could behave, but what's the use?
So help me Lord, I got to cut loose
Rebecca and Megan really showcased their music history with references to the Allman brothers, Dolly Parton, and the trail blazing Son House. After "Bleach Blonde Bottle Blues" the next song up was a cover of Son House's "Preachin Blues" which the band included on their studio album Peach. The crowd went wild on this one, stomping and clapping to the beat.
Daaaaang these ladies brought the fire. Larkin Poe went on to play 17 songs! I could go on and on about how they melted our faces with their their roots-rock, pop infused, southern twisted rock and roll, but I'd rather go and listen to their albums and dream about the next time I can see them live!
If you want to re-live the show or see what you missed, check out our playlist and peep the pics below.
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Thanks to Larkin Poe management and Slowdown for setting up photo access!
The Cold Stares