Larkin Poe with The Cold Stares
Mountain Arts Center
Sept. 26, 2021
Review by James Stamper / Images by Tom Biggs TRB Photography
Sept. 26, 2021, will forever be a memorable date for this music fan! Larkin Poe, being on their “Monster Energy Outbreak” tour, made a stop at The Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg, KY. I, for one, expected this to be a tremendous show, but when my ears heard the words “The Cold Stares would be joining Larkin Poe on this tour”, I almost started doing cartwheels on my front lawn! (Not a good sight to see).
However, the sight of The Cold Stares joining up with Larkin Poe would have your eyeballs thanking you! The Cold Stares have played close to home many times including Whitesburg and Hazard, KY, but never had made their way to Prestonsburg until this date. Larkin Poe on the other hand has never played around Eastern Kentucky. The only time I recall Larkin Poe even playing in Kentucky was at the Louisville, KY festival, Bourbon and Beyond, in 2018. In other words, having these 2 astonishing acts, both in Eastern Kentucky, had me so excited, that I thought my heart was going to jump on stage with them!
Before I move on, I want to personally thank the Mountain Arts Center for their super service and for always booking amazing shows! I also want to thank Prestonsburg Mayor, Les Stapleton, for all his hard work, bringing in entertainment to the mountains of East Kentucky!
Now let’s talk about the show!
The first act was the amazing Cold Stares! The Cold Stares consists of Chris Tapp (guitars, vocals) and Brian Mullins (drums). Both were originally from Madisonville, KY, playing in bands together since their early 20’s. Sadly, they went their separate ways, but however, came back together to reside currently in Evansville, IN, and form The Cold Stares.
The accomplishments of these gentlemen are outstanding. First, being a duo with only a singing guitarist and a drummer, making it sound like a full band is playing, is an accomplishment in itself, let alone accumulating more than 20 million Spotify streams, having their song Sleeping With Lions included in a TNT hit show “Animal Kingdom”, also having 2 songs included in the popular video game “Cyberpunk 2077”, Mojo Hand (used for the trailer of the game) and Suffer Me. Not to mention, the cover artwork for their latest album Heavy Shoes was done by Rick and Morty’s Corey Booth. If all that does not make you say wow, how about them getting to perform at this year’s “Aftershock” Festival in Sacramento, CA? That is unbelievable. Day by day, these guys are getting bigger and bigger it seems.
Let’s talk about their performance.
The Cold Stares came out to a crowd that was ready to rock n roll! Performing songs such as Heavy Shoes, Mojo Hand, Parchment Farm, Hard Times, Whipping Post (Allman Brothers cover), and Strange Light, the Mountain Arts Center couldn’t believe what a sound two men could make! Every head in the venue was moving! In my mind, a lot of new fans were made! There were no red lights with The Cold Stares! Chris and Brian get better every time I see them live! I don’t know how, but I’ve never seen a band that can stay so tight, that can bring such a groove, that can absolutely bring the roof down at every venue they play! Listening to them on CD or vinyl, you’d think there were five or six playing together, but it’s just two like I stated earlier! How?? They blew my mind then and they still blow my mind now!
Watching them perform in Prestonsburg was a special show. Have you ever watched a TV show or watched a movie and you get a feeling of butterflies in your stomach because of how special and how superb it is? That’s the feeling that overcame Mountain Arts Center while The Cold Stares were playing. It’s an unforgettable feeling that I know deep inside, will be a part of me forever. Thank you, Chris and Brian, for always making me want to come back and for being a part of my musical journey!
The Cold Stares is one band that will NEVER be out of my daily music rotation. Do yourselves a favor and check these guys out if you haven’t. You won’t be disappointed! Honestly, you won’t be the same person after you listen to this band. Mark my words on that statement.
One more thing. Chris, if you read this, I noticed you had a sticker of a Native American Chief on your guitar where the pickups are located. It caught my eye throughout your whole performance. Very interesting.
It’s time for Larkin Poe to show Prestonsburg what they are all about!
Larkin Poe is originally from Calhoun, GA, but now resides in Nashville, TN. What’s interesting about this group is it’s fronted by two sisters, Rebecca and Megan Lovell. For those of you who know the blues-rock band, Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown, Tyler Bryant is Rebecca Lovell’s husband. I find this to be very interesting, considering the fact I’ve seen both bands and never knew Tyler and Rebecca were married. One thing about it, if they have children, they will be unstoppable musicians! That’s all I have to say on that subject!
Larkin Poe got their start after Rebecca and Megan left the bluegrass band they had with their other sister, Jessica, The Lovell Sisters. They would go on to release six studio albums, two of them being in the Covid – 19 year, 2020, which I think is a wow factor in itself because everything shut down and was chaotic, yet these sisters not only made one but two albums during one of, if not the craziest time in the United States.
For that, I give Larkin Poe two thumbs up, and the rock horns for not letting Covid stop these women from what they love! I’m already waiting for a new album from Larkin Poe! Let’s hope 2022 brings one!
Get ready Prestonsburg, here comes Larkin Poe!
Larkin Poe has the fog machine rolling, incredible light set up, everyone is on their feet, Prestonsburg is ready to show Larkin Poe that Kentucky can rock! They hit the stage, starting their set off with Self-Made Man. The Mountain Arts Center erupted! Prestonsburg Fire Dept was going to be busy that night because I’m here to tell you, the place was on literal fire! Rebecca and Megan weren’t about to let up and the crowd wasn’t about to sit down!
Within three or four songs, Rebecca quoted “You all got it going on here in Kentucky!
“This is a pretty big room, so if anyone wants to get closer to the stage, come on down”!
I ran faster than a Chevrolet Camaro! I got right in the center, right in front of Rebecca and Megan. I could not believe how close I was to them. Both of them would get right in front of the crowd at times and break solos right in our faces! I was so lost in it, you could have asked me my name and I couldn’t have told you! If I had a moment to re-live, it would be this night. Just simply bewildering.
Hearing songs such as Preachin’ Blues, Holy Ghost Fire, Who Do You Love, Tears of Blue, and Freedom, it was amazing! I believe in my heart that Larkin Poe rocked Prestonsburg the hardest it had ever been rocked! Everything about that performance was bad to the bone! There wasn’t a second that went by that I was not headbanging, beating on the stage, dancing, and everything else I could think of doing at the time. I’ve been a Larkin Poe fan for a few years, but Sept. 26, 2021, I became an even bigger fan! One of the greatest shows I have attended in 2021. No questions asked.
Larkin Poe is still currently on their Monster Energy Outbreak Tour. Please go out and support Larkin Poe! The Cold Stares will be playing three more shows with them as well, so be sure you catch them! Also, Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown will be supporting them for a couple of shows, so this is a must-see all the way around! You can find the tour dates below!
Support live music! Buy merch, help the artists stay on the road, and help them make your next favorite album! Without them, we would not have the beauty of music, so it’s important to support these artists! Life would suck without music, period.
All photos by Tom Biggs at TRB Photography LLC
©2021. Please DO NOT copy or use without permission.
The Cold Stares
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