Larkin Poe Fill Webster Hall with Blistering Blues-Rock
March 13, 2023
Larkin Poe – Webster Hall – March 12, 2023
The blues-rock of Larkin Poe is tough, terse and tensile, uninterested in cruft or clutter. Sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell don’t vamp endlessly, don’t indulge in hours of string heroics, don’t overdo it on blooze tropes, don’t complicate things — their music gets to the goddamned point, which is tight statements, snake-bite guitar and a sinewy rhythm attack. Damn, are they fun, on top of a command of blues and roots that have drawn the notice of people who appreciate such things.
At Webster Hall on Saturday night, the Lovells were locked in from the jump, delivering a 90-minute set heavy on tunes from their latest record, 2022’s crunchy Blood Harmony. It’s just the two of them, plus a smart, supple rhythm section of drums and bass, and the sound is full and aggressive, heavy with younger sister Rebecca’s Fenders and older sister Megan’s Rickenbacker lap steels. Rebecca sings lead: a full-throated holler that’s also plenty tender. They get into it but they’re also not all business, joshing each other and seeming genuinely touched by a packed crowd enthralled to see them back in New York City after several postponements.
The set moved like a row of dominoes, knocking out fist-pumping rock (“She’s a Self Made Man”), hearty ballads, rippling boogies (“Southern Comfort”), gnarly gospel (“Blue Ridge Mountains” and “Paint the Roses”) and stomping psych-blues (“Bleach Blonde Bottle Blues” and, later, “Bad Spell,” the duo’s in-their-own-way nod to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins). Megan Lovell cast a spell to open their arresting version of Son House’s “Preachin’ Blues” — stunning, especially to those of us for whom lap-steel sorcery is catnip. They built to a monster finale of the new album’s hot shuffle, “Bolt Cutters & the Family Name,” and then returned to tie one on with “Deep Stays Down,” beginning without instruments before grabbing their guitars and setting the stage ablaze one more time. They had us. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson
Photos courtesy of Grayson Wise | @grayokay