HON JIUN WONG
It’s rare to have a band start their gig with talking about crisps, especially about cheese and onion flavour crisps. Renaming the flavour to ‘Chonion’ and revealing that she already had three bags of it, Jessica Larrabee of She Keeps Bees set the tone of their almost one hour and a quarter set.
Opening act, Sophie Jamieson was truly a pleasure to watch. It’s fair to see an entire audience go silent for the opening act, and yet that is actually what happened when Ms Jamieson took to the stage. With just her guitar and her vocals, Sophie enchanted the audience, playing songs like Waterloo and Ode to the East.
She Keeps Bees, a Brooklyn-based duo, have been playing their version of blues rock since 2006. Made up of Jessica Larrabee on guitar & vocals and Andy LaPlant on drums, She Keep Bees played to a jam-packed crowd at infamous London music venue, The Lexington, on Saturday, November 15. Their latest album, Eight Houses, reinforces their similarities to Cat Power and while it has been favourably received, fans were a bit apprehensive as to how it would translate to the live stage.
They needn't have worried; laid-back album opener Feather Lighter sounded divine with Andy’s heavy drums and Jessica’s cathartic vocals soaring across the room. Four songs in, Jessica decided to switch it up and transitioned to playing piano for Is What It Is. With LaPlant’s mesmerizing drumming echoing around the stage, it made for a very enchanting and bewitching set.
Jessica definitely knows how to keep her fans entertained, often coughing up jokes at her own expense. At one point, she offered to use her chewing gum as glue while poking fun at herself for ‘busting a vein in her eyeballs’. She wasn’t sure if it was a leftover chili pepper flake from her spicy burrito breakfast. Poking fun at Tindr and LiveJournal, she also talked about how she injured herself: she fell down the stairs after missing the last step. There were, of course, poignant moments, for example whilst wearing a shirt in memory of her dad, Jessica asked the crowd to toast a drink to him.
Wasichu blended seamlessly into Greasy Grass and somehow they managed to have the drum beat sound similar to a horse galloping. Greasy Grass was definitely a highlight, especially towards the end where the song sort of exploded into an emotional, exhausting musical release. She Keeps Bees closed off their main set with Gimmie, which began with a very sparse introduction of just a drum and tambourine; all of which was happily lapped up by the enthusiastic crowd.
But as always, the crowd wasn’t satisfied and soon began a series of loud calls and cheers of ‘we love you’, ‘encore’ and ‘we want more’. She Keeps Bees soon appeased their fans and returned to the stage for a four song encore that consisted of tracks: All or None, Encore, Release and See Me. This is a band that knows their audience and how to put on one hell of a show.
Rating: 4.0 / 5.0