Blues Pills are a class above

Support: RavenEye

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Tonight’s audience is delightfully diverse. There are metalheads in Marduk hoodies, flares-sporting hippies and men in suits – and all a wide range of ages: an indication that the love for Blues Pills is universal.

Support act RavenEye [7] haven’t even released their first EP yet (it’s out May 11th), but word must have spread fast because the O2 Academy is already heaving with punters eager to see the Milton Keynes power trio. Good thing, too, as their infectious, bluesy jams prove to be the perfect warm-up act to get everyone grooving. Though they’re initially plagued by sound niggles, these thankfully melt away and the band’s confidence is juiced up as a result; shaggy-haired guitarist Oli Brown and strapping bassist Aaron Spiers are equally charismatic as they bound across the stage with mega-watt grins.

Blues Pills [9] sure get around, at least in London town; the multi-national band have played a variety of venues in the capital lately, from the modest Dingwalls to the beautiful King’s Cross St Pancras church.

Given all this, it’s easy to forget that the youthful four-piece only have one album under their belts, and it’s likely that many here will have heard these same songs live before; but the magical thing about Blues Pills is that their psychedelia-laced blues belters take on a new lease of life in a live setting, each one laden with impressive improvised guitar solos, led by Elin Larsson’s mind-blowing vocals that sound even better live than on record.

Larsson is as much of a delight to watch as she is to hear; the Swedish beauty is all giddy girlish giggles when the band arrive onstage, but as soon as the opening bars to the mighty High Class Woman burst out and the kaleidoscopic lights begin to swirl, Larsson loses any trace of timidness and transforms – batting her tambourine, shaking her mane, pouncing across the stage barefoot and grinning wildly, even before she opens her mouth to belt out that voice, it’s clear that she’s blossoming into a proper star. The rest of the band are notably more subdued in movements but not in musicianship; though Dorian barely moves a facial muscle, his trippy guitar solos are stunning. From the soft haze of Dig In to the gut-wrenchly emotional No Hope For Me, the audience appear entranced throughout, but Devil Man is the clear favourite: when it’s announced, everyone roars with approval, and when Larsson asks them to sing along, the room fills with voices.

In a sweetly humble and admirable move, the whole band mingle with the audience following the show. Towards the end of her performance, Larsson admitted: “When I was a little kid, I could never imagine this.” Somebody shouted back: “You deserve it!” And he’s absolutely right.

Hannah May Kilroy

Hannah May Kilroy has been writing about music professionally for over a decade, covering everything from extreme metal to country. She was deputy editor at Prog magazine for over five years, and previously worked on the editorial teams at Terrorizer and Kerrang!. She currently works as the production editor for The Art Newspaper, and also writes for the Guardian, Classic Rock and Metal Hammer.