Friday 8 October 2021

LIVE: The Staves at Rock City (6/10/21)

I’ve been struggling a little to get back into the rhythm of writing posts regularly lately, but I have something pretty exciting to write about. In a dreamy and somewhat spontaneous turn of events (hey - remember spontaneity?) I went to an actual real life gig on Wednesday night. My first gig in almost 600 days. Long overdue and a completely joyous experience!

There have been a few shows lately that I’ve wanted to go to and haven’t for one reason or another… it has felt a little as if I’m doing nothing but working, interning and failing at being a blogger at the moment. It’s difficult to describe quite how much of a gap live music has left for the past year and a half and just how much I needed this show - but if you’re here, you know that exact feeling.

Like many, getting out into nature has been a bit of a lifeline through all of this and has, I guess, unintentionally filled that gap a little. It’s not too dissimilar - both are an escape of sorts, an opportunity to come across people with similar interests, not to mention the glorious birdsong. (Ps, if you’re interested, I’m posting some nature pics to insta here.)

It was such a treat for my first gig back to be The Staves, honestly. Their latest record Good Woman has soundtracked 2021 for me, and it is no spoiler to say that it will very likely be featuring pretty highly on my albums of the year list.

First up, though, was Samantha Crain. A good woman indeed. And hilarious too. Together with Kyle Reid (“I brought him over from Oklahoma with me”) she performed tracks from last year’s record A Small Death and this year’s I Guess We Live Here Now EP. A genuinely delightful performance. Once I’d got past the novelty of being feet away from somebody performing live music I was blown away by the skill on show. Sam’s vocals are incredible. I’ve (foolishly) not done a deep dive into her back catalogue before, but will certainly be making time to now.

The mind boggles a little at the man behind us who was there specifically to see Sam, and loudly told somebody all about this during a couple of the tracks. Gigs are back and… so are the obnoxious people who think that the artist somehow won’t notice you talking loudly over their set, apparently. Joy. Don’t get me wrong - he sounded as if he really loved her music and I love that energy but... really?

After a quick change around, it was time for The Staves. Just two of them for this tour, Jess and Camilla - Emily, as the pair jovially proclaimed between songs, is selfishly skipping the tour to look after her baby. While it’s a shame not to experience those beautiful three-part sisterly harmonies, the show was pretty darn special regardless. Backing the pair up on stage were their ‘beautiful baby boys’ (their words, and who am I to disagree) Marcus Hamblett, Glyn Daniels, Chris Dagger and Rob Pemberton.

I’ve seen the trio once before, when they performed a secret set in the wine bar at Bushstock Festival in 2015. It was a stunning acoustic set but I’d never actually listened to them before then, and have been desperate for an opportunity to see them again now that I’m pretty besotted with their music. Performing the majority of the new album alongside a few older favourites, the set was a stunner. I think I’d probably have thought any live music was pretty magical after so long away, but this bunch are genuinely on another level.

My biggest takeaway from the show, though, was just how happy everybody on stage looked to be there. To be back performing live and finally sharing their new record with fans in the live setting. Their joy was infectious - I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense that I was exactly where I should be in that moment. And more than a little bit weepy too. All of the emotions. Now… when can I go to another gig?

Follow The Staves - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.
Follow Samantha Crain - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

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