This Staves article was written by Joel Gehler, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Hazel Webster. Lead photo by tongzdaobaozha and footer photo by adizepl
The two albums and various Eps that The Staves have released since their humble beginnings, performing together in their local pubs, have proved that the Staveley-Taylor sisters have the sort of bond that could only belong to siblings. The focal point of their music is the beautiful harmonies that come to the fore when all three of the sisters sing. The beauty and emotion that pours out of these vocal harmonies showcase that The Staves are at their best when three become one and where each voice is just as important as the other. Their ability to use this talent to its full potential has earned their two albums (2012’s ‘Dead & Born & Grown’ and this years ‘If I Was’) deserved critical acclaim, whilst their capacity to re-enact these faultless harmonies and performance live has provided them with support slots with the likes of Florence + The Machine and Bon Iver on UK arena tours.
From the get go during Tuesday night’s show in Cardiff, The Staves displayed their ability to sing flawlessly, opening with the truly stunning acapella piece ‘Hopeless’. The Staves began as they meant to go on and the following 90 minutes were filled with gorgeous harmonies, beautiful songs and the pure joy of watching three singers so in sync with each other and clearly loving every minute of it.
The influence of Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver and producer of ‘If I Was’) has been obvious on the band with a fuller sound supported by horns, strings and electric guitars that characterised ‘If I Was’. The set was predominantly made up of material from the new record and the fact that The Staves performed nearly the entire album demonstrated just how proud they are of these songs. It isn’t hard to see why as ‘Steady’, ‘Blood I Bled’, ‘Horizons’ and ‘Damn It All’ were all met with a rapturous applause.
The Staves are now clearly open to widening their musical horizons and are taking in different sounds. Their cover of Bombay Bicycle Club’s ‘Feel’ was a perfect example of a group being more adventurous and having fun doing it. Even older songs such as the wonderful ‘Mexico’ received an electrified rendition, whilst another ‘Dead & Born & Grown’ number ‘Winter Trees’ was transformed with the aid of horns and strings, both these songs using the extra instrumentation of the band to great effect.
The encore brought a new song aptly named ‘Tired As Fuck’, detailing life on tour in the form of a loud, bluesy and powerful full band song that once again highlights the different styles that The Staves are now capable of bringing to their music. Closing out the show with the hands in the air anthemic ‘Teeth White’, performed with the care-free swagger it was written for, was one of many highlights that found both band and audience losing themselves in the music.
Tuesday night’s show demonstrated how The Staves have developed as a band from their days as an outfit of three voices and acoustic guitars. They have managed to add depth to their sound whilst also keeping the beauty and emotion to their music that made them so endearing in the first place. The night was summed up perfectly by a member of the Cardiff crowd shouting out “this is beautiful” halfway through the set, which was met with full agreement by the whole audience. He was right, it was beautiful.