Gig Review: The Staves at the Limelight (24/11/12)

BY BEN WHITTINGTON

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Jools Holland success and a tour supporting Bon Iver, The Staves play to a sold-out Limelight.

The three Stavely- Taylor sisters have cultivated a unique, and often mesmerizing live experience. A slightly shy stage presence and a beautifully fragile sound, combine to make an utterly captivating performance. Their famed ethereal vocal harmonies washed over a receptive, and eerily silent, Limelight crowd who all seemed to exude a quiet smugness that they were witnessing something very special for very little. You can almost guarantee that on The Staves’ next tour, an intimate performance like this, will cost quite a bit more than eleven pounds a head.

A small and intimate venue, like the Limelight, suits The Staves sound perfectly. In a larger venue, the fragile harmonic spell they weave runs the risk of evaporating into the ether before it can fully captivate the audience. This is potentially fatal because it is their sound that draws the crowds, not their songs. With the exception of Mexico and In The Long Run, The Staves lack song’s that will grip the audience in their own right. Too many are carried by the sisters collective harmonies and subsequently get by on merely being ‘pretty’ without being memorable. In this respect The Staves’ greatest strength becomes something of a weakness; if everything you sing sounds great, there is less incentive to write great songs. Having said that, the two songs mentioned previously prove they have the ability to write these songs and therefore the potential to become something truly spectacular in the future. A more attractive Simon and Garfunkel springs to mind…

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