A sell-out event at Princess Pavilion means one thing: Penetrating heat; and depending on who is performing this can really offset the atmosphere and crowd moral at the small venue. However, with the cooling, harmony-immersed vibes supplied by The Staves, even the fires of Hades themselves couldn’t have tainted the magical night that unfolded.
Opening the event was Gabriel Rios, a jovial folk-inspired singer who injected a light-hearted ambiance to the ever-expanding audience. Alongside his two avid band members, the artist performed his way through a number of jubilant songs, during which the audience indecently chattered throughout. With wide-ranging vocals and a selection of unpredictable tracks, he warranted more than this neglectful viewing.
Although this chit-chat was a regular convention throughout the evening, the attention was mostly recaptured when The Staves materialised upon the stage with sincere grins stretched wide. The audience commended with passionate screams as the girls opened with a vocal descant set to establish the high tone of the evening. No one in their right mind could affront the powerful launch of their set; a launch that made-way for something even more enchanting.
The folk-enthused girls projected an amiable shared guise through humble offerings and quaint jokes between songs. It was satisfying to see a trio, with whom intense talent resides, act with such modesty towards their bulky audience. This mannerism made the event feel exceedingly personal, regardless of the perspiring room filled to-the-brim with other equally as enticed bodies.
Highlights of the set included a rapturous edition of Black & White and an impassioned performance of Blood I Bled, both of which exist upon the girl’s second album, If I Was. To see the raw emotion rendered into the ardent lyrics was a tour de force in itself. This, combined with their endless incline of instrumental capacity, is why the live editions of their songs will always outweigh their records. I hope with all my heart that the trio will never venture down the forbidding road of performing with nonchalant arrogance’s, because this would be the very antithesis of what makes them such a phenomenal group.
After seeing the band support Paolo Nutini during the summer, I was concerned that their songs could sound rather unvaried if placed in a careless order. This, however, was an unnecessary concern as the tracks were cleverly positioned in a way to give you harmonious lenience one minute, and dense percussion-enhanced tunes swiftly afterwards. If variety truly is the spice of life, then The Staves have achieved enlightenment. I was a fan before, but now I’m a fervent obsessive.
Words by Keira Trethowan
Photography by Craig Taylor-Broad