When I arrived at the smaller of the two halls situated at The Cluny music venue in Newcastle I was surprised to see no additional seating had been set out.At the firm insistence of the bandI was informed. As this venue is more often used for acoustic singer songwriters or occasionally the odd duo I was interested to see how Larkin Poe (comprising sisters Megan & Rebecca Lovell from Georgia USA) would manage in such a small intimate hall.
Well, after a well received set from local award winning bluesman Trevor Sewell, Larkin Poe hit the stage along with drummer Marlon Patton and bass player Robby Handley and as the drums kicked in, Megan’s dobro kicked like a buzz saw and Rebecca hit those first sweet soulful notes you knew instantly why seats were not required.
This is the pattern of the evening as one great song follows another. The songs emphasise family (in its broadest sense) throughout as we get Stubborn Love, about sisterly love via therapy sessions, Jessie is based around a great grandfather with a temper and this theme persists. One of the many many highlights is Jailbreak which has the crowd going wild at its end. Of the crowd – while there were those in attendance of a similar age to the band the average was taken higher – a lot higher – by many shall we saymen of a certain age. Let’s face it I creep into my 6th decade…and there were many older than me in attendance, many at the front of the stage with camera phones glued to their eyes. If I was the band 1 would be a little worried if this is the demographic of their audience. They somehow need to find a way to connect to a younger audience. The music is geared to them…but where are they all? Too be fair those of a certain age – male and female- were dancing and grooving as if in a club night in Ibiza!!
But that is for another time. In a hot and sticky basement Larkin Poe pulled out all the stops. Covers of Richard Thompson’s Withered And Died and Buddy 8 Julie Millers Take Me Back (sung as the final encore with just acoustic and those two sweet voices) were performed superbly to add a change to the self penned material.
To be honest Larkin Poe may have lost, or will lose, some of their early followers, because this definitely ain’t country anymore. But they will also gather just as many new converts to this new sound. Me -well as an old rocker…I loved it.
Hopefully they will return for a longer tour. If they do..make sure you catch this incarnation of Larkin Poe, it would be a shame not to. John Jobling