Larkin Poe @ Chalk, Brighton

Friday, 6 May 2022

Roots rock Nashville based band Larkin Poe brought the UK leg of their current tour to an end at Brighton’s Chalk on Friday. It had been postponed several times, as it was originally scheduled to promote their «Self Made Man» album, which was released in 2020. Norway Rock Magazine was there to check out the live experience before the band arrives in Oslo, Rockefeller on 3 June.

The excited anticipation of the crowd filled the packed club venue before the band walked on stage. Rebecca and Megan Lovell from Georgia form a formidable front to the band, joined by drummer Kevin McGowan and bassist Tarka Layman. Rebecca’s powerful vocals pair well with Megan’s slide guitar, and their passion for the blues music they grew up listening to is evident from the opening song, the guitar driven title track of their latest album, «She’s a Self Made Man» and throughout the set.  

It was very much a family affair, and an early highlight was “Bleach Blonde Bottle Blues”, which Rebecca said was written for her big sister Megan, followed by a cover of Son Houses “Preachin Blues” which highlighted Megan’s slide guitar. A later highlight was concert staple «Mad as a Hatter», which was also family related and the writer’s personal favourite of the set. Rebecca explained that the track was inspired by Megan and Rebecca’s grandfather, who struggled with mental illness for several years. Rebecca sings about watching a loved one’s mind slip away and wondering if the same fate awaits her. Live, it’s powerful to witness her deliver the lyrics:
«Just like the father of my father, time stole his mind
And I can’t forget that one-fourth of his blood is mine
I try not to worry

Continuing the family theme, Rebecca’s husband, a certain Tyler Bryant, made a special guest appearance for the encore, a cover of the Robert Johnson blues song «Come On in My Kitchen», which showcased Rebecca’s powerful vocals beautifully. It was a shame that the venue had a curfew of 10pm, because the band and the crowd gave the impression that they could have rocked all night. 4.5/6

Text and photo: Anne-Marie Forker