Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Staves - Manchester Gorilla - 31st May 2017

A packed out sweltering Manchester Gorilla paid host to The Staves' first UK show in over a year. An adoring and respectful crowd watched sisters Emma, Jessica and Camilla perform a career-spanning set of songs to a rapturous response.

The welcome The Staves get feel like one usually reserved for homecoming heroes in Manchester and given their time away, there is a sense that they are. With recent single Tired As Fuck representing a broadening of musical horizons, tonight feels like it's about welcoming them back as they run through a set that leans heavily on their last full album If I Was as well as last year's Sleeping In A Car EP.

They do have to contend with a really noisy air-conditioning system that does impose itself a little on the quieter moments of the set and disturbs the fragile intimate nature of them, but it's a minor issue as Emma, Jessica and Camilla interchange lead vocal responsibilities and instruments; one moment solo, the next joining together and giving the songs a lift at just the right juncture and taking the crowd with them, which means the set is full of moments where the crowd are hanging on the nuance of every word whilst the next they're tapping their feet away and mouthing the words, rather than singing them so as not to detract from the impact. Highlights are a gorgeous Damn It All and Teeth White, whilst the crowd find their voice for Tired As Fuck.

The encore is a thing of simple beauty. After telling us again how much they love Manchester and reminding us, to deafening cheers, "not to vote fucking Tory next week", a simple acoustic guitar and three beautiful voices, working in unison, but also in contrast to each other, deliver two old favourites from their debut album - Gone Tomorrow and Mexico - so stripped back and raw (and with the air conditioning turned off) and so beautifully observed by the crowd.

The Staves played Outlaw, Steady, Roses, Black And White, Sleeping In A Car, Train Tracks, Damn It All, Blood I Bled, Make It Holy, No Me No You No More, Let Me Down, Teeth White, Tired As Fuck, Gone Tomorrow and Mexico.

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