Review: Blues Pills/The Picturebooks – G2, Glasgow

The PicturebooksThe White Stripes, The Black Keys, Royal Blood, The Carpenters, we love duos, right? The latest in a long line of duos is The Picturebooks. Hailing from Germany with their own brand of holla blues I was informed these guys are not to be missed.

Exploding onto the stage to a howl of feedback from his beaten old Gibson, singer/guitarist Flynn Claus Grabke and drummer Philipp Mirtschink are here to warm up the punters for the next 30 minutes. Attacking his fuzz-drenched hollowbody guitar with a slide whilst Mirtschink pounds his drums with massive beaters like a blacksmith hammering away in a forge, they create a thunderous noise! Speaking in a Californian accent (Grabke spent time living there) he tells the crowd Glasgow is his one of his favorite cities on planet earth, having previously played the Garage, the ABC before it burnt down, and the legendary King Tut’s. Naturally, the crowd lap this up to many whoops and hollering before they storm on with “I Need That Oooh”. It’s a hip-shaking stomper that oozes sexiness. It’s a wonder that Philipp’s drum heads can handle the intense battering they receive as sweat gushes from every pore in his body. “Zero Fucks Given” sees multiple middle fingers raised in support of The Picturebooks. Giving the guitar a rest, Grabke picks up a mandolin for “Howling Wolf” and proceeds to wring sounds out it I could never imagine; fuzzed-up riffing and shredding on the tiny instrument. Rounding off with “Your Kisses Burn Like Fire” The Picturebooks just turned G2 into the hottest juke joint in Scotland!

Blues Pills

Sweden’s Blues Pills have built a steady following since their 2014 debut and are finally getting the chance to tour album number three, ‘Holy Moly!’, which was released nearly two years ago. Taking to the stage, the retro-styled psychedelic blues rockers are met with a welcome applause that becomes near-deafening when singer Elin Larsson appears. Dressed in a pair of bright white shorts that would make Daisy Duke jealous, she has the full attention of everyone in the room. After a short pause where guitarist Zack Anderson quickly has to tune his guitar, they start with “High Class Woman”. Larsson wastes no time in getting animated, making use of every inch of the small stage they are on tonight. This is my first time seeing Anderson on guitar as he was previously their bass player, swapping roles after the departure of Dorian Sorriaux. He does an impeccable job of tackling Sorriaux’s guitar parts and it was a great decision to move him to guitar and get a new bassist in, Kristoffer Schander who holds down the low end in fine form. Moving seamlessly onto “Ain’t No Change” which is more muscular and intense compared to the album version it practically hurtles along. The build-up to the guitar solo is dramatic and reminds me of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well”.

Blues Pills

“Proud Woman” has every woman and man in the room dancing or head-bopping along feverishly as Larsson delivers her feminist anthem to pounding drums and swirling fuzzed-out Hendrix-esque guitar. “We are proud fucking Women” declares Elin! There are some more chilled-out moments instore as well, the first of which is “Wish I’d Known” from the latest record “Holy Moly!”. It’s a gorgeous slice of soul. Anderson playing some tasty Curtis Mayfield-style R&B as Larsson pours out her heart. The band simmers along and turns up the heat when needed. This is my kind of soul! A trio of older numbers, “Black Smoke”, “Bliss” and “Astralplane” bring more psyche to the set list and take us on a wild ride. Notably, “You Gotta Try” is the only song featured from the “Lady in Gold” album. It’s a pity as there are some belters on the record and I had hoped I would hear “I Felt a Change” and the title track. The band sounds incredible and fire on all cylinders tonight, from the Mick Fleetwood-on-steroids drumming of André Kvarnström to Erin Larrson’s vocal acrobatics it’s a joy to behold. Closing things out with a ten-minute version of “Devil Man” that sees Larsson hop over the barrier and into the crowd after deciding the stage was too small to hold her. There is no encore and shortly the lights go up and it’s time for home. Blues Pills have left us wanting more but they will be back this autumn. Do not miss them!

Review – Colin Plumb.

Image in red – credit Patric Ullaeus

The Picturebooks image – credit Rob Wilkins

All forthcoming Blues Pills tour dates can be found below;

17.06.2022 DE – Neuhausen ob Eck – Southside Festival
18.06.2022 BE – Dessel – Graspop Metal Meeting
19.06.2022 DE – Scheeßel – Hurricane Festival
21.06.2022 NL – Nijmegen – Doornroosje *new*
22.06.2022 DE – Cologne – Gloria *new*
24.06.2022 FR – Clisson – Hellfest
25.06.2022 FR – Paris – Café de la Danse *new*
27.06.2022 FR – Tourcoing – Le Grand Mix Club *new*
28.06.2022 FR – Rouen – Le 106 club *new*
30.06.2022 FR – Seinäjoki – Provinssi Festival
02.07.2022 ES – Barcelona – Rockfest
04.07.2022 FR – Lyon – Ninkasi Kao *new*
05.07.2022 IT – Fontaneta d’Agogna – Phenomenon *new*
07.07.2022 CZ – Vizovice – Masters of Rock
08.07.2022 PL – Krakow – Hype Park *new*
09.07.2022 DE – Berlin – Festsaal Kreuzberg *new*
23.07.2022 RO – Brezoi – Open Air Blues Festival
06.08.2022 SE – Stockholm – Rock pa Skansen
23.08.2022 GR – Athens – Keeping the Blues Alive Cruise

More information on Blues Pills, here.

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