ACL 2015 Review: London Soul talks about mothers, channels the Delta

Tash Neal of The London Souls performs during the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park Friday, October 9, 2015. (Stephen Spillman / for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Tash Neal of The London Souls performs during the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park Friday, October 9, 2015. (Stephen Spillman / for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

London Soul are proof of a new trend: the two-man blues band. Not that’s new, actually, but it’s definitely been revived in the wake of the Black Keys’ massive succss.

At just about the same time London Soul played the BMI stage at ACL Weekend 2, Royal Blood, a British two-piece blues band, were taking the stage across the field. (In an airplane above, advertisers had changed their tactics from last weekend: they were dragging an ad for condoms.)

What’s not totally clear is how hot the demand is for these bands. The Black Keys had better than average lyrics, some vocal and guitar quirks that made them stand out. And since their early blues work, they’ve morphed into style that channels hip-hop and pop. In other words, a hard act to follow.

Still, London Soul had a satisfying sound with some retro touches, on the laid-back BMI stage. You could hear a smidge of Hendrix, maybe even a drift of The Who.

The lyrics are pretty standard “beggin’ you please” blues stuff, though the lyrics of a couple songs were clearly more contemporary, with lines about respect for women, “we’ve all had mothers.” Those songs often had catchy guitar riffs and a beating kick drum.

And that’s pretty pleasing, as far as it goes. It helps if you’re a sound of the blues, but London Soul (an American band, incidentally) are soulful, and mostly lighthearted. They’ll totally do the trick.


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