Live Review: The Staves

7 Dec

The Hope : Monday, December 5 2011

Until Monday, Radio One DJ Fearne Cotton’s biggest achievement was making people crave the return of her predecessor, the simpering Jo Whiley.

Then she went and gave The Staves their first airplay on the station.

Suddenly, her banal morning show chit-chat and excruciating TV festival coverage with Reggie Yates was forgiven, because if there’s one act which would flourish with a wider audience, it’s The Staves.

So far the three sisters have built a steady following by word of mouth and support appearances – this was their third show in the city in three months after opening for fellow folky-types Willy Mason and James Vincent McMorrow.

Here they were headlining and, in part thanks to the added air of confidence that brings, they were captivating.

With apparent effortless ease, sisters Emily, Camilla and Jessica deployed terrific three-part harmonies – often alongside little more than a single acoustic guitar or ukulele – to stun the vast majority of the crowd into silence.

They have an aura and authenticity, not to mention ability, akin to Laura Marlin – but multiplied by three.

They’ve got the songs to match the vocal talent too. There were more than a handful of highly infectious tunes which instantly burrowed into the brain.

What’s more, it was all accompanied with a refreshing, prevailing sense of fun. As well as some onstage banter between themselves, we were all urged to “tweet the shit out of Fearne Cotton” so she would play their new single Mexico again.

They had a bit of bite too, as the couple at the front who insisted on nattering can testify after they were on the receiving end of a barbed comment during the encore.

With their natural talent, tunes and charm, The Staves are just about the complete package. Next year could well be theirs.

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