The Rambling Man Fair: Blues Pills
Blues Pills are on their ‘Lady in Gold’ European Tour after the release of the album ‘Lady in Gold’ back in August 2016. The four-piece band is made up of a whole lot of bluesy rock tunes, psychedelic looks, and big hair. Taking this into consideration it’s not much of a surprise that I find myself right at the front of their set as they dominate the main stage of the last day of The Rambling Man Fair. I was surrounded by mostly men donning long grey beards, hair, leather patch work jackets and enough hats to make you believe I had stepped into the American South West. This did not bother me too much as they had all turned out to support a band close to my heart. Elin Larrason came bounding on stage with the rest of her band (Dorian Sorriaux on Guitar, Zack Anderson on Bass and André Kvarnström on Drums,) and immediately released her powerful vocals into ‘Lady in Gold.’ Full of all an upbeat melody, bluesy rhythms and an infectious stage presence which meant everybody got their groove on.
As they rolled off songs from their debut album ‘Blues Pills’ and their latest such as ‘Black Smoke,’ ‘Ain’t Not Change,’ and ‘Jupiter.’ With each song Elin’s powerful earthy vocals, energetic stage presence and the band’s clear involvement with the music that they played (to an almost spiritual level) meant I was captivated and began to almost see the notes as though their album artwork had come to life.
The guitarist Dorian was only 16 years old when he was spotted and asked to join the band due to his sparkling talent being beyond his years. He effortlessly and coolly spewed out the slurred notes which perfectly wrapped up Zack’s rumbling volcanic bass vibes. The newest member to the Blues Pills team is the drummer and percussionist André Kvarnström who joined Blues Pills in 2014. He provided the stomping beat which fuelled Elin’s energy, the bands strong yet chilled demeanour and held the crowd in rapture. Together Blues Pills (recorded and live) are an unstoppable force of bluesy rock crowned with a psychedelic twist and a style that proves that there is no one that sounds, looks or IS quite like them.
Roughly half way through the set Elin broke me from my trance by checking we were still with her and if we were having a brilliant time (ish to the first and YES LAWD to the second). She was taking a breather from her head thrashing, high knee stage dancing and panting slightly into the microphone. Her ability to produce such a strong sound and completely freak to the tunes left me questioning how I manage to sound like a wheezing dog after scaling a few flights of stairs.
‘There should be a Rambling Woman Fair, right? This one is dedicated to all you ladies out in the crowd!’ Roared front woman Elin Larrason before she launched into ‘High Class Women.’ The ladies in the crowd (no matter how sparse, with myself included) united in song and dance to the chorus High Class Woman/ High Class Man/ So much power held in your hand/ High Class Woman/ High Class Man/ Day is Coming and you’ll be damned! It was a ‘high class’ moment of the set for sure and proved (not that there was anything to prove) that there was a strong feminine force within this Rock n’ Roll festival and within the genre in general.
Personally, their 45-minute trip went far too quickly and I could easily have let them do their thing for many hours. Elin announced (again as she tried to catch her breath) that their last song would be ‘Devil Man,’ which seemed very apt and fitting. As a parting message, she announced that ‘in this world we should be spreading love and peace – practically in these times.’ If it’s one thing that Blues Pills do – its spread the peace and love and the whole crowd was feeling it. Elin’s vocals ripped through the silence ~ ‘Devil Man, Devil Man, Devil Man.’ Each time pausing as virgins to the band were stunned that a lady could produce such a sound full of gritty, husky emotion and power as she smiled down as if to say – “Move aside Gents, I’m coming through.”
It’s safe to say that I am now even more of a fan of the Swedish rockers then I was before. And not simply because I adore their vibe and want to live in their art work (which I semi am having bought a sweet T-shirt from the Merch Stall.) The only thing I wish had happened with that they played my favourite song ‘Little Sun,’ but on the fact that I would have full on cried in the middle of muddy field was a slight saving. (However, both I and another elder Gentleman started to tear up to ‘High Class Woman,’ so I feel like I would have had an equally emotional partner intoxicated with the “Blues Pills Effect!”)
A resounding image that has stuck with me since I saw them live was catching a guy at the festival (black jean jacket covered in patches, long beard and hat - you guessed it). He had a Blues Pills patch in the bottom corner of his jacket full of every hardcore band from Stone Roses, Guns & Roses, Rolling Stones, Queens of the Stone Age, Metallica, Saxon (names all the heavy weight Rock n’ Roll bands from the 60s-90s.) But the fact that this Blues Pills patch had earnt its way onto this impressive jacket summed up to me what this band is about and what it means. It may not be in your face but you can’t escape that fact that its (most defiantly) up there.
Now excuse me I need to start stitching my own “Black Jean Jacket Covered in Band Patches…”
Trying and failing to blend in as the wind tried to steal my hat…