Live Review: The Staves – Engine Shed, Lincoln

2015 has been a vintage year for The Staves. After releasing their stellar second LP in March (If I Was), the Staveley-Taylor sisters have embarked on three UK tours, a tour of America, and appeared on BBC 6 Music as part of their annual live music week at Maida Vale. The opportunity to go and watch them at the tiny Platform venue held at the Engine Shed in Lincoln was too great to pass up.

Opening with a brand new track, Hopeless, The Staves proceed to slay through an 18 song set in the next 90 minutes, encompassing tracks from Dead And Born And Grown, the aforementioned If I Was, their debut EP’s (Mexico and The Motherlode) and still find time to throw in a cover of Bombay Bicycle Club’s Feel (“We are doing our best to give up and coming bands a leg up” quipped Emily). High on wit and singing prowess, this gig was a celebration for The Staves, played out to an appreciative audience.

For this writer, The Staves work best in the autumnal months; their sound seems tailor made to accompany the falling of leaves and the chill in the air that returns each year, and whilst their songs matched the temperature outside, the hot, sticky and clammy atmosphere in the venue was at odds with this. People seem to forget that the girls can actually rock, as demonstrated on the fabulous Black And White, which builds and builds into the crescendo before the whispered ending. Stunning stuff indeed. Damn It All works extremely well as a set closer, with Emily, Jessica and Camilla’s voices entwining and disentangling throughout, echoing and harmonising. If a newcomer to The Staves wanted a clear indication of their talent, Damn It All would be a fine place to start their discovery.

Returning for an two song encore, the sisters play a brand new track, Tired as F**K, which perhaps says more about their touring schedule than anything else, and will surely be a winner at future live shows, and then end with the rollicking Teeth White, which is one of the finest songs to appear in 2015 – its melody repeating itself in this writers’ head for days afterwards. So, 2015 has been a true success for the Stavely-Taylor sisters. It will be interesting to see how they can top this in 2016.

Joe Sweeting