All photos courtesy Joe Stadele Photography. All rights reserved.
Walking into the 7th Street Entry Thursday night, there was a distinct smell of coffee in the air. Around the corner two elderly men sipped coffee from their stools perched against the back wall. Front-to-back, side-to-side, surrounding the men was a sold out crowd spanning 60 years in age; all in attendance before openers Goodnight, Texas even took stage — all here to see Larkin Poe. Between nights opening arenas for Bob Seger, the “Georgia Peaches” took a night off from the road for a brazzin’ 90 minute set of rockin’ blues and storytelling in Minneapolis.
“This is such an honor!” expressed lead vocalist/guitarist Rebecca Lovell, “Thank you guys for all coming out, buying tickets, spending your money, supporting live American music! It’s a big deal! We can’t let this be a dying art form. You know what I’m saying? We can’t let Netflix win!”
Thursday night, Netflix did not win.
To Michael Buffer’s “Let’s get ready to rumble” and New Orleans-style jazz, Larkin Poe took their stage and hit the audience with a one-two punch of rock; the Georgia Peach gone bad “Trouble in Mind” and a cover of Leadbelly’s “Black Betty.” From there, Slide Queen Megan Lovell pulled the crowd in with the sleek and sinister slide guitar of “Look Away” and their latest single, “Bleach Bottle Blonde Blues.” While the sisters have been on the rise for several years, Rebecca Lovell seemed overwhelmed with excitement to have the enthusiastic audience singing back her confessional lyrics. “So, about that new record. We’ve been independent, Megan and I, making records since we were 15 or 16. Which is so crazy to me that we’ve been able to make our living off the support of people like you. You came out and you care. It’s really cool, so thank you! And it’s really quite an honor to tell you that this record, Venom & Faith, it’s the very first time we’ve ever had a record debut on the chart..and Venom & Faith went #1 on the Billboard Rhythm and Blues Chart!”
In all of the best ways, the set played out much like an episode of Storytellers, in which Rebecca shared explained songs and share stories. “We do not have to be defined by our pasts,” shared Rebecca, “You can wake up at the beginning of a new day; clean break. Take all of that baggage that is just weighing you down. It does not serve you; all of these bad impressions about yourself, all these things you can’t do, put that shit down, it’s just baggage, let it go. Move into the future. Really, let’s try to remember that. If you take one thing away tonight, please try to remember that and we can create the future we want to see for ourselves and for our world. So if you need this song as much as I do every damn day, this is called “Freedom.”
The emotional climax of the set was the haunting “Mad as a Hatter .” Rebecca recalled it being one of the first five songs she had ever written. The song was written about the sisters’ paternal grandfather whom suffered from schizophrenia. The sisters found the song to be emotionally taxing to perform, even removing it from set lists for several years. However, with the increase in mental health awareness and those affected by the likes of Alzheimer’s Disease and memory loss, it has also grown to be a highly requested song among fans.
Other highlights of the set were an extended “Black Echo,” in which Rebecca and Megan exchanged solos throughout the song. Megan pushing into the audience as she worked her way across her slide guitar. The ode to broken hearts “Might As Well Be Me” had the many of the ladies…and guys in the audience dancing and swaying. “Blue Ridge Mountain” had the entire room stomping and clapping. Before taking a bow for the night, the band took a selfie with audience and wrapped the night in a bow of their own with a cover of Robert Johnson’s “Come On In My Kitchen.”
Trouble In Mind
Black Betty (Leadbelly cover)
Preachin’ Blues (Son House cover)
Bleach Blonde Bottle Blues
Hard Time Killing Floor Blues (Skip James cover)
Mad As A Hatter
Might As Well Be Me
Run For Your Money
Blue Ridge Mountain
Wanted Woman/ AC/DC
Come On In My Kitchen (Robert Johnson cover)