Larkin Poe Live @ Night & Day Cafe, Manchester

Ten seconds.

That’s all.

Just ten seconds in to Larkin Poe taking the stage and I knew this was going to be one of the best gigs I’ve seen in a long time. They arrived in a whirlwind of power and energy,encapsulating everyone in the crowd as they jammed out a fierce opening.

The venue for tonight’s gig is The Night and Day Cafe, an old haunt in Manchester where I caught the Civil Wars some years ago, and we’re treated to an opening performance from Jarrod Dickenson. Hands up.  I hadn’t heard of this guy before but boy, do I know who he is now. A burley Texan who took complete command of the stage whilst accompanied by his beautiful Irish wife. Jared definitely had the feel of David Rawlings about his playing with elements of Jason Isbell to his voice. I picked up a CD and I’ll bring you a review of that very soon.

                                                         Jarrod Dickenson doing his thing.

As Jarrod took his bow and worked his way through the crowd, up stepped sisters Lovell and their merry band to make mayhem on stage. It almost feels like a refreshed band as their music has certainly taken a more rock based direction than the more mellow previous releases. It suits them. They bound off of each other on stage, smiles plastered on their faces and fly through the opening few tracks, even dropping into a spontaneous rendition of Black Betty which really got the crowd whooping and a hollaring.

Rebecca Lovell takes lead on vocals and guitars and is unwavering in her poise and purpose as she completely blows the roof off with her voice. When she really lets loose she channels the raw beauty of Janis Joplin, fuelled by emotion and flawlessly harmonic. Rebecca’s sister, Megan, takes control of the slide guitar and I’m not doing her justice by saying her playing would be worth the admission fee alone. What Megan can do with the lap steel is beyond the realms of normality, it’s a screeching, scrawling thunderclap that she masterfully uses to create ambience in the dialled down songs, room filling solos in the rockier numbers and the odd vocal battle.

In other words, they pair off perfectly.

                                  Sisters are doing it for themselves. Rebecca and Megan.

We’re treated to a performance of what will be their new single here in the UK, Sucker Puncher, and it’s a triumph. If this single doesn’t go on to capture the hearts of the Brits it will be a travesty. It offers up Americana true to their roots with a rocked up vibe.  A lot of the songs on the night ended with pacey jams largely due to the restricted sets they have been playing with Elvis Costello, so tonight was chance to let loose and thank the lords they did. This is when you see musicians in their purest form, free to attack the air with their brand of noise. You could sense a lot of grunge elements to the instrumentals, as my partner said “very swamp rock”.

In what was a lovely touch, the sisters came out to meet all the fans and even had their album on sale despite not coming out in the UK for several months. I desperately wanted to get my hands on one but I had battled through my anxiety and panic attacks to reach the end of the gig, it was time for my great escape. So I implore you to be like me, get the piggy bank out and preorder what’s going to be a powerhouse of an album.

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