In warming up the crowd for one of the most daunting singer-songwriters of the last half century, alt-country duo Larkin Poe proved to be a formidable opening act for Elvis Costello at the Theater at The Ace Hotel last Sunday evening.
As part of Costello’s “Detour,” Atlanta-based sisters Larkin Poe are currently opening for the singer-songwriter on his North America and Europe dates, as well as joining Costello on stage during his set.
“We don’t make it out to Los Angeles much,” Rebecca Lovell said as she tuned her guitar in between songs. “It’s a long car ride from Georgia, but we’ll make it out for Elvis.”
Playing songs from their upcoming album Reskinned as well as their 2014 album Kin, Rebecca’s aptly muddy guitar work was the perfect compliment to sister Megan’s viciously electric slide. Reminding one of early Allman Brothers output, Larkin Poe effortlessly straddled the line between traditional southern rock sensibilities and the contemporary idealism of emphasizing alt-rock.
The crowd began stomping their feet and hollering during the band’s cover of the Ramjam tune “Black Betty,” adding vocal harmonies and slide guitar to the otherwise unabashedly one-dimensional southern rock standard.
Clearly enamored with the Lovell sisters, members of the audience called out their admiration for the sisters in between songs.
“I didn’t realize Megan brought her fan club with her,” joked Rebecca after a group shouted out for her sister in between songs. “Now I’m feeling left out. Call one out for me!”
Much like Courtyard Hounds or the Secret Sisters, Larkin Poe inhabited the innumerable vocal quality of the contemporary southern gothic female songstresses, harmonizing up into a seemingly immediate rapture.
After Larkin Poe’s supporting set, the sisters joined Costello on stage for numerous encore numbers including “(What’s So Funny About) Peace, Love & Understanding” and “Blame It On Cain” from Costello’s My Aim Is True.
Playing mandolin and slide, Larkin Poe helped orchestrate some of the more complicated songs of Costello’s catalogue, filling in the deficit of Imposters multi-instrumentalist Steve Nieve.
Such reworkings were wildly received by the crowd, even causing one audience member to toss his pinched front cowboy hat into the hair in response to the raucous version of Costello’s “Pads, Paws and Claws.”
“This group is the next big name in country singing and songwriting,” Costello said after covering a handful of his original numbers. “We are so lucky to have them in support of us this tour.”