At the tail end of last year, I discovered a band playing hard-edged blues, fronted by one of the most captivating voices I’d heard in years. And a few days after my discovery and the subsequent review, luck was on my side as they were supporting Rival Sons. That band was Blues Pills.
With a UK tour looming, the band are due to release their first live album – their headlining performance of last year’s Freak Valley Festival entitled Blues Pills Live. This one’s a special one. Issued as a one-time pressing, once they’re gone, they’re gone. And there’s no digital version either for all you hoping to get it on the various services. So if you want to get a nice collector’s piece, get your hands on one of these.
Sporting a fairly similar tracklist to the debut album, there’s been a couple of new songs added in favour of older material. Much of the running order is similar too so it’s similar to playing an album in full yet everything still feels fresh.
The band sound exactly the same as they do on their studio effort, transporting me to the night I saw them for half an hour. Raw and savage yet equally tender; frontwoman Elin Larsson’s vocals grab you by the scruff of your neck and refuses to let go. Even though it’s not in the flesh, Larsson’s voice still makes me shiver. It’s that good. Think Beth Hart and you’ll have the right idea. She doesn’t spend too long speaking with crowd but when you have the material this band does, you can let the music do the talking.
“High Class Woman” sounds even grittier and bluesier in a live setting, effortlessly blending in with the next track “Ain’t No Change” to the point I had to check how long the former was, I thought I was still listening to it. All through both songs, Zack Anderson’s bass lines remain the focal point and ensure they get their time in the spotlight, the work on “High Class Woman” in particular is enough to leave you open-mouthed.
Melodies from Dorian Sorriaux wail and grind to prove once again that any blues fan should pay attention to him. He’s going to be one to watch in the next few years alongside people like Arron Keylock. Newcomers “Bliss” and “Dig In” only further prove that and it makes me want studio versions of the songs. Although the album makes me want to track down any early material on EPs. The more the better.
Blues Pills Live is a testament. It’s proof of concept that the best way to make a new musical discovery is through their live material. For me, it’s another great album to sit alongside the studio album. It underlines how great this band is and I hope they get every opportunity they deserve. I was already looking forward to their Glasgow show at the end of April but now it can’t come quickly enough.
Blues Pills Live is out 23rd March.