She Keeps Bees,The Lantern

Review by Abby Render – As She Keeps Bees enter the stage for their gig at the Lantern at Colston Hall, Jessica Larrabee’s quirky disjointed chatter with the seated audience creates the vibe of an awkward family event in a grandparent’s living room. Yet the intimate venue and trance like effect of their grungy rock provided a very pleasant musical experience. The first half of the set involved many tracks from their new album ‘Eight Houses.’ Filled with lyrical emotional weight, the songs are moody, complex and performed effortlessly on stage. Jessica Larrabee has a truly fantastic voice and the songs flow with added raw guitar riffs and great skill from drummer Andy La Plant. Jessica’s control and versatility of her voice really carries the whole set and the songs which otherwise could be fairly samey. For the fourth song she moves to the keyboard for “It Is What It Is,” also from their new studio album, a melancholy track that envelopes the audience in its emotion. In the second half of their set they bring out their blues element a bit more with catchy more lively songs such as “Gimmie” from earlier album ‘Nests.’ An impressive encore follows what seemed to be a short but sweet set and the stand out here is a stripped back performance with just the two original members as Jessica follows Andy on the drums with just a tambourine and her voice; here I see similarities to The White Stripes. Jessica’s personality is a complete contrast to the pretty dark music; she is bubbly, funny and very humble. The energy Larrabee and La Plant share is strong and guest guitarist, their friend Adam, is a good addition even though he did have his back to the audience for the majority of the set. However, he does join a few members of the audience to have a dance at the front of the stage during one song. There is an air of contentment as the band leave and the lights go up. It was like witnessing an evening of lyrical poetry rather than a rock gig, and with Jessica’s addictive voice, She Keeps Bees are definitely one to watch. Find out more about the band at