February 20, 2023
Larkin Poe Plays the House of Blues: Concert Review
Cassie Hunter

Photos by Cassie Hunter

On February 10th, sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell of band Larkin Poe took the stage at the House of Blues in San Diego.  Opener Vista Kicks performed a short set, hours after announcing it will be their second to last show ever.  Despite their upbeat surf-pop sound, it was clear the end was near for the indie band as the members seemed awfully cold to one another during their penultimate set.   

After much of the younger crowd had filed out of the venue with the conclusion of Vista Kicks’ last song, “Marceline”, Larkin Poe began their show with a lively opening. The Nashville based band boasts a classic, roots rock sound reminiscent of 70s bands such as the Allman Brothers and ZZ Top. While many cynics believe this generation marks the death of the genre, Larkin Poe’s set left no doubt that classic rock is still kicking.  Rebecca Lovell’s soulful riffs evoked the memory of great blues guitarists like Stevie Ray Vaughan and blended perfectly with her sister’s unique lap steel sound. The two of them, only in their thirties, drew a crowd of listeners twice their age, excited to once again experience the music of their youth live. With lots of “Free Bird!” exclamations and “rock on” hand signs in the air, the Larkin Poe crowd was definitely a much different experience than the ones I’ve seen, since I typically seek out artists that cater to a more youthful audience.   

Although the audience was quite disruptive at times (even breaking out into a fight at the bar), the band still managed to put on an incredible show, tearing up their guitars and belting out unfeigned lyrics. They navigated expertly through various opposing emotions, keeping the audience on their toes. One moment they were performing a touching tribute to their grandfather, encapsulating the sorrows of mental illness in “Mad as a Hatter”;  the next, they had the audience dancing along to the sanguine beat of songs like “Southern Comfort” and “Kick the Blues”. The night itself was also a dichotomy of sorts between the sisters’ staunchly feminist message, evident in “She’s a Self Made Man”, and the large number of loud, middle aged white men shouting over them. This never discouraged the duo, though, as their chemistry on stage more than made up for it. With vibrant smiles and supreme confidence, they delivered a masterful set that was certainly memorable.  

For fans of classic rock or those looking to branch out in the rock genre, I certainly recommend seeing Larkin Poe live. Despite the boisterous crowd, they truly put on a lively set that I think anyone could enjoy. As a woman, too, the sisters’ powerful stage presence and unapologetic nature was genuinely inspiring.

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