What’s the worst thing that could happen to a bee keeper? I guess it would be to have your beloved bees turn on you whilst simultaneously discovering you are alergic to bee stings. Ack! Lets not wish that upon anyone. Jessica Larrabee and Andy LaPlant spent the entire summer (BEE SEASON) in the UK, visiting all the way from Brooklyn, playing dozens of shows.
The duo released their second record, Nests, via the Names label in the UK. With 11 tracks and rolling in at just under half an hour long, the record is a blast from start to finish. Each track showcases Jessica’s incredibly powerful, brilliant voice atop the dirty, bluesy guitar and rattley drums. It sounds wonderful on record, but live it’s something completely different…
They started off in June, taking up a residency at The Britannia pub in Hackney. Playing one show a week for four weeks, it was a treat to see them to settle in. They also played a show at the 229, and at one of London’s finest venues- The Luminaire, before heading to France for a few weeks. Watching Jess rock out on tracks like Get Gone and Andy pound the drums with all his might on Cold Eye is nothing but spectacular and impressive. The real hook in a She Keeps Bees set is Nests’ opener (and usually the set closer), Ribbon. The song is just a couple of minutes long. It’s a couple of minutres where you forget to breathe because you’re so hypnotised by Jess, singing and clapping with no guitar accompaniment. The tempo change at the end of the song is completely genius and stops my heart every time. Forgetting to breathe, heart stopping… sounds like She Keeps Bees are pretty killer, right? She keeps KILLER bees.
Returning to Britain they played a host of shows at the Windmill in Brixton and wowed audiences at Green Man, Offset and End of the Road festivals. There’s something completely endearing about a She Keeps Bees show. The duo are so genuinely humble and Jess is sometimes painfully self depreciating. It’s as if she does not fully realise how wonderful she is and the amazing music she is making. The band are so special and bring good energy to all the places they play, and from the bottom of my heart I can’t recommend them enough.
At their first show here Jessica spent a good 5 minutes or so joking about bangers and mash and how funny it was to be in England. Four months later it feels like they belong here and it’s sad to have them go home. We were lucky to have such a wonderful couple stay over for so long, be sure to catch them when they’re back.
Words and pictures: Anika Mottershaw
Anika runs Anika In London and she and FFS are putting on The Allotment on 7th October at The Betsey Trotwood, featuring Broadcast 2000, Al Lewis & Sarah Howells and I Said Yes. Click HERE for more info.