It doesn't take long after Tash Neal's chunky distorted guitar kicks in on The London Souls' self-titled 2011 album to realize the New York-based rockers aren't just a band but the proud standard-bearers of an old-school tradition.
From fuzzy metal psychedelia and Beatles-esque harmonies to frontman Chris St. Hilaire's wailing pipes, the band's debut recording quickly establishes that remaining authentic to a classic sound hasn't rendered them one-dimensional. Fittingly, the album was recorded in the holy confines of Abbey Road Studios.
St. Hilaire and Neal formed The London Souls in 2008 in New York. From the beginning, they bonded over a shared appreciation for the hard-driving energy of rockers such as Cream, The Black Crowes and Tedeschi Trucks Band, for whom they opened in January at the Tivoli Theatre.
Fans of the Souls say that the band's classic, raw rock and animated live shows should make them exciting to see Friday, Aug. 1, as this week's Nightfall headliners.
"[My wife] raved about the energy," says Corey Petree of local rock group The Cadillac Saints, of a previous London Souls performance. "She said that [Neal] broke three guitar strings in that one show and didn't miss a beat. For me, that's just a sound I don't hear much anymore, and I'd love to see it make a comeback."
¦ What: Nightfall concert series featuring The London Souls.
¦ When: 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1; Jordan Hallquist & The Outfit open at 7.
¦ Where: Miller Plaza, 850 Market St.
¦ Admission: Free.
¦ Phone: 423-265-0771.
¦ Venue website: www.nightfallchattanooga.com.
¦ Artist website: www.thelondonsouls.com.
Jordan Hallquist & The Outfit are a local rock trio consisting of guitarist/vocalist Jordan Hallquist, drummer Jeremy Muse and bassist Robert Williams. The band made it to the finals of the Road to Nightfall battle of the bands in both 2013 and 2014. For more information, visit Facebook.com/
Petree says he appreciated the Souls enough to try to book them to play Fly Free Fest, an outdoor music festival he and his wife are putting on in Lafayette, Ga., this October. Because of their distance from the Scenic City, however, flying the band in would have been cost-prohibitive, but Petree says he's excited that Chattanooga Presents managed to snag them.
"To me, they give off a Jimi Hendrix vibe," he says. "I'm absolutely going to see them. We love those guys."
Chattanooga Presents media coordinator Jonathan Susman likens them to past Nightfall rock headliners The Black Keys and says the band's lively shows should make them an ideal fit for Miller Plaza.
"I think they'll go over similarly [to the Keys]," Susman says. "It's a big sound with a very small band."
Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @Phillips CTFP.