Blues Pills, RavenEye & The Pearl Harts @ Academy 3
The Pearl Harts sound like four people tearing up the stage but are, in fact, half that number. The muscle-bound, heavy blues-rock riffing from guitarist Kirsty is held tightly together by the thunderous rhythm pounding of drummer Sara who also provides some stunning vocal harmonies. It’s a visceral display of locked-in groove, with Kirsty at times tap dancing onto a loop pedal in order to have her own riffs fed back to her while she jams along. Only shaped in 2013, this noisy, powerhouse duo is definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Full of beans but not a wet fart in sight, RavenEye light proceedings up with their hard driven power-rock and an enthusiasm that seemingly knows no bounds. Award winning singer/guitarist Oli Brown, who has supported little known players like Jeff Beck and Joe Satriani, started RavenEye in 2014 with Aussie bassist Aaron Spiers, himself an established musician, and powerhouse drummer Kev Hickman to bring their earth-shattering heavy blues to the masses.
There is a good chemistry on stage tonight and there’s no doubting the stadium filling quality of tracks like Breaking Out, with it’s timeless classic rock riff. Upcoming shows with Slash and Myles Kennedy should see them reaching wider audiences who will surely be impressed by the energy and skill emanating from these lads. Oli leaps off the bass drum, leads a sing-a-long and drops into the photo pit to get up close and personal with the gathered throng. It’s high-octane rock and roll all the way and delivered with passion.
A brief intro and Blues Pills launch into High Class Woman from their self-titled debut. The petit frame of Elin Larsson stands monolithic with a voice that reincarnates the legend of Janis Joplin. Blues Pills’ sound takes in the first line-up of Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin and Hendrix and in a purple haze evokes swirling images of the Woodstock generation. Young guitar wizard Dorian Sorriaux impresses with cool wah-soaked lead lines that are almost too grandiose to fit in this tiny venue as the smooth rhythm section of Zack Anderson and André Kvarnström carry the beat smoothly.
The wide appeal that blues music still carries is reflected in the audience. A wide range of ages all rock together. Old, young, middle-aged, all entranced as one as magical songs like Black Smoke evolve into smooth extended jams. It’s difficult to believe that these beings standing on the stage are only in their early twenties and, at times that they are even human!
Even though her voice could strip your soul bare Larsson’s stage manner is friendly and polite, her thanks are genuine and heartfelt which makes for an endearing presence. This persona seems to change though as the songs kick in. At times it’s like watching Cream being fronted by Ozzy Osbourne as her hair flays the air around her, tambourine held aloft while effortlessly delivered rock ‘n’ roll snakes around her lithe frame.
Organic music, pumped full of warm blood and brimming with soul will always have its place in this world and Blues Pills hark back to some of the greats. Maybe it’s not fashionable, (and who cares?), but this band have a seemingly mainstream appeal that should see them break big if there is any justice in this world. These are the pills for what ails you.
Words: Paul Cooke | Photos: Frederick Apps