Blues Pills – Live in Thessaloniki (23/1/2015)

This summer I went to a festival that advertised Radio Moscow as its big first name. They had been overhyped a bit frankly, and I hadn’t heard of them before but I’d heard good things about them, so I was reasonably excited to see them perform.

I was disappointed to be honest, and I kind of regret that it has taken me so long to listen to their music since, because of that particular bad performance. They showed up on stage pants-shittingly unsober, and just felt little after the awesome Vintage Caravan that came on just before them. Maybe it was the comparison with a band that gave it their all and made the sluggish crowd stir after so, so many beers and actually bothered to do an encore, maybe it was the fact that their driving force, singer and guitarist Parker Griggs was stoned out of his mind, but it’s also quite possible that maybe, a part of their talent that doesn’t seem all that insignificant, their drummer and bassist, had left the band to form vintage rock band Blues Pills along with two equally talented musicians, Swedish singer Elin Larsson and French guitarist Dorian Sorriaux.

For the uninitiated, vintage rock looks to draw inspiration from blues music, which, as wiser men than me have said, is the source of all rock and roll, and it is important to sometimes revisit that source for new ideas. The other part that makes vintage rock what it is, its sound fresh and exciting, and helps bring those influences to the fore is the necessary, some would argue, adaptation to today’s music standards, the fusion of the old school with the heavier, cleaner sound of today’s bands.

That being said, Blues Pills pull it off admirably, their sound ranging from straight up slow blues, to bluesy that eventually blow up, up to songs that just explode in your face right away. Well, that’s only about the regular amount of explosions when no one asks Michael Bay for his opinion.

I actually became aware of the band’s existence just a day before their show in Thessaloniki’s Principal Club Theater, and after listening to their album three times, I decided I really wanted to see them live. Playing as the support were the always enjoyable Million Hollers from Thessaloniki so the choice was made pretty easy, and I grabbed a friend and went to watch the show. My only qualm before going was the probability of a very short event, due to them having just one album, but fortunately Blues Pills laid it to rest, staying on stage for over an hour, also returning for an encore.

Every single one the Blues Pills members were great to watch, even managing to spawn a less than tentative mosh pit near the end of the event. The impressively talented 20 year old Dorian Sorriaux was strangely reminiscent of one of rock’s greatest, Ritchie Blackmore, while André Kvarnström was a machine, bearing a resemblance to Dave Grohl to the point that I would bet that he also made the faces Dave Grohl makes while on the drums, only I couldn’t tell for sure because his hair was always in his face. Elin Larsson can definitely sing, and with a great presence on stage with a tambor and her dancing, although at times missing from the music throughout her band members’ jamming and longish instrumental sections, it didn’t actually feel like she was ever missing from the moment. Last but not least, Zack Anderson was definitely a bassist. He didn’t even try to match the other members’ energy, which is a good thing because as we in supermetal always say, if the bassist is the biggest poser of your band, then you probably have a bit of a problem on the stage presence department.

blues_pills_members

All in all it was a very enjoyable show and definitely keep an eye on this band. Whoever still thinks that women can’t sing the blues, think again.

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