London Souls Heads Downtown For Free Show

By Casey Moffitt in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 10, 2015 2:15PM

photo credit: Shervin Lainez

The London Souls are bringing their New York City sound and attitude to Millennium Park Thursday evening for a free Downtown Sound concert, and suckers for classic rock songs are going to be in for a treat.

The duo of Tash Neal on guitar and Chris St. Hilaire on drums have put together a nice collection of straight up rock 'n' roll tunes on their latest effort, Here Come the Girls, that could fit almost seamlessly on any classic rock radio station without being stale or stodgy. The neat trick about Here Come the Girls is how the London Souls manage to use a familiar formula yet still manage to create something fresh and exciting.

Although we hear a lot of easily recognizable influences on the album from Badfinger, to Tommy James to a little early Alice Cooper and dipping into delta blues, The London Souls have written some catchy tunes. Opener "When I'm With You" is a one-way ticket to hitsville with a breezy pop feel, hot guitar licks and wild drumming.

The London Souls display a lot of skill on Here Come The Girls. Neal has a lot of control over his instrument, yet still can let it all go when he wants to rip a hot solo. He has also come up with some nice melodies for these songs and has a good voice with a pretty wide range. He hits some falsetto on tunes like the Ragtime number "How Can I Get Through," and then drops down into a powerful and gritty tone for the swampy "Steady."
Neal also puts together some really nice phrasing with his voice. He can be slick and smooth, or spit out a rapid fire line.

St. Hilaire gets pretty wild behind the trap kit. His fills are spastic and busy and he seems to have a hard time sitting on a rhythm. It's almost like he's ready to explode if he drives a beat for something beyond a few measures, then he has to let his frustration out, all over his toms and cymbals for a wicked barrage of hits. His style is urgent and frustrated. It's not exactly acrobatic or tasteless, but St. Hilaire puts his toe very close to that line.

Although The London Souls bills itself as duo, Here Comes The Girls features a full complement of instrumentation, including bass guitar, keyboards and a wide array of auxiliary percussion. They also tour with a bass player, so those who have a difficult time digesting to the guitarist/drummer trend have no worries.

It's been a long road for London Souls to make their way back to touring. Soon after Here Come The Girls was put in the can, Neal was nearly killed in a hit and run auto accident. It took two years but, with a little determination, he's recovered and back in playing and touring shape.

We haven't had the chance to see The London Souls perform, yet, but based on what we hear on Here Come The Girls and some of the live videos we've seen, we think this is going to be pretty good rock show, and for free!

The London Souls perform with Eggnoise on Thursday June 11 at Millennium Park, 6:30 p.m., FREE.