The Grammy-nominated, sister-led band embraced unique surroundings for a rousing Halloween eve concert. Plus, photo recaps of Chuck Prophet, Waydown Wanderers, Stovepipe, Mushmen, Wavves & more.
SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTO GALLERIESFROM EIGHT WEEKEND SHOWS
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From Son House’s “Preachin’ Blues” to the band’s own “Holy Ghost Fire,” Larkin Poe rocked the hallowed rafters of Grand Rapids’ Fountain Street Church on Saturday night as impressively as any of the legendary bands that have graced the altar-turned-stage over the past half-century.
The blues roots-influenced rock group raised in Georgia and based in Tennessee “preached these blues” and more for a receptive, near-capacity crowd, cranking up fiery rockers, dark, edgy and soulful blues classics and covers of everything from the Allman Brothers to George Thorogood.
Fronted by sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell, the four-piece band unleashed high-powered tunes from across their chart-topping albums. And from the first up-tempo song to the stripped-down acoustic encore finale, new and hardened Larkin Poe fans alike got a master class in blues-rock they won’t soon forget.
The night began with North Carolina’s The Collection, a seven-piece group (complete with guitars, keys, drums, a lead vocalist and even a trombone/trumpet player) that had enough energy and charisma to dance around what was left of a rather packed stage. The set got the crowd fired up and cheering, ready for what was to come.
As David Wimbish, lead vocalist for The Collection, put it: “And then there’s Larkin Poe, who just crush it every single night.”
Larkin Poe proved just that, romping through favorites such as “Trouble in Mind,” “Preachin’ Blues,” “Bleach Blonde Bottle Blues” and “Self-Made Man,” the title track of the band’s recent studio album, while regaling the audience with stories about the tunes.
“Wow, what a historic room,” Rebecca Lovell gushed at one point early in the show.
During the band’s signature “Holy Ghost Fire,” stage smoke completely and appropriately engulfed the band at one point. “We’re going heavy on the fire and smoke metaphor,” joked Rebecca Lovell.
Throughout the set, the band’s dynamics, theatrics, blistering guitar solos and energetic tempo kept the crowd engaged, amped up and cheering. But the group brought it down for a few tunes at the end of the night.
Breaking out an acoustic guitar instead of the trademark electric instruments, the group began a softer, ballad-style rendition of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.” Arms swayed across the silent crowd, listening to every note and word flowing from the stage.
The acoustic mood continued for the finale during a song paying tribute to one of the original iconic bluesmen, Robert Johnson, with a cover of “Come on in My Kitchen.”
It closed out an evening that proved to be a compelling mix of present and past. – By Matt Marn & John Sinkevics
PHOTO GALLERY: Larkin Poe, The Collection at Fountain Street Church (Saturday)
Photos by Anna Sink
STOVEPIPE HOWLS AT THE MOON (AND OTHER THINGS) AT LISTENING ROOM
Just across downtown, another engaging — and more intimate — show unfolded at Listening Room on Saturday, as dark folk/Gothic Americana singer-songwriter Justin “Stovepipe” Stover delivered a Halloween-appropriate performance that started with him donning a werewolf mask to the delight of fans.
What followed, often in amusing fashion, in the album-release show for Stovepipe’s “Wicked Good” were odes to werewolves in love, the gates of hell, horror movies (“Horror movies actually calm me down,” Stover insisted) and “bloodwater baptisms” with Stover dressed as a
“redneck zombie” rather than his initially intended priest (though he was wearing a “Repent” trucker’s cap).
The Grand Rapids-based Stovepipe featured cellist Maggie Peters for much of the show, adding the right touches of melancholy to his cleverly crafted tunes.
The night opened with an impassioned solo performance by guitarist-singer Emilee Petersmark (of The Crane Wives). – John Sinkevics
PHOTO GALLERY: Stovepipe Stover, Emilee Petersmark at Listening Room (Saturday)
Photos by John Sinkevics
PHOTO GALLERY: Bass Country Halloween at The Intersection (Saturday)
Photos by Eric Stoike