In the heart of the Cotswolds lies The Convent in South Woodchester, Gloucestershire. A hidden gem which, as a local, I shamefully admit I had no idea existed until recently. It is in a beautiful rural setting with breathtaking surroundings. On my arrival I was amazed to see the gardens dotted with pianos at the front and rear, setting a completely musical vibe as well as providing a perfect environment for many of the Songwriters’ sessions held there.
A converted Hotel and Spa, the concerts held there take place in The Chapel which, with only 100 seats, makes a very intimate and unique venue. The Chapel has retained many of its original features, including stunning stained glass windows and a few church pews along the side walls, as well as tables and chairs, which all makes for comfortable viewing.
Although Larkin Poe have visited the UK many times prior to this occasion, I had never had the chance to see them. When I saw online the last minute announcement that they were playing in my local town, I was literally the first to purchase tickets. I had tickets 1 and 2!
For those unfamiliar with Larkin Poe they are an American sister duo Rebecca and Megan Lovell from Atlanta who play a mixture of genres such as Rock, Folk and Americana. Reputedly genuine descendants of Edgar Allen Poe, these girls were destined to be talented and successful.
Larkin Poe arrived on stage promptly at 8pm. It was not a full house, perhaps as not well promoted, but Larkin Poe seemed more than happy to put in a full professional performance. Rebecca on lead vocals captivated the audience with her strong vocal range, reminding me instantly of PJ Harvey mixed with a little Heather Nova. It took me back to the soundtrack of The Crow: City Of Angels and shows that Larkin Poe would have been as relevant to the music industry in the late nineties as they are now.
Although only in their twenties, Rebecca and Megan Lovell have not only a mature sound but also the gift of writing lyrics beyond their years to such an impressive depth.
Rebecca interacts with the crowd well between songs and tuning her guitar, admitting she has a big mouth and which Megan, the slightly quieter sibling, finds amusing. Both girls play multiple instruments with Megan on a Lap Steel Guitar.
The set played seemed shorter than what it probably usually is. This may be due to the venue’s time constraints? Anyway, the show was very pleasing, entertaining and left you wanting more.
Larking Poe’s set list consisted of songs such as Stubborn Love, Jesse, Don’t, Elephant, Banks of Alatoona, Jailbreak, Sugar High, Over achiever, Covers of Cher/ Nancy Sinatra Bang Bang and Tom Pettys’ American Girl. I would have liked to see We Intertwine and Crown of Fire on the set list but, hey, I will just have to go and see them again.
As it was mainly a more mature audience Megan Lovell mocked at how quiet we were. We were just appreciating their great music in a pleasant, relaxed environment, which made a change from other noisy venues.
Larkin Poe are a band I highly recommend to anyone who just likes decent music both live and on record. They certainly do not disappoint. Also any opportunity to visit The Convent should not be missed. I found it such a unique and intimate venue.
The owners of The Convent work very hard to please their audience and come on stage to greet you. The Convent also gives those who cannot attend the opportunity to watch the live show online from £4.99. I have never seen this anywhere else. Amazing that it can be viewed worldwide, live!
Review by Hannah Compton