Live Review: The Staves – The Roundhouse 9.11.15

School night out. Early start in the bar of the Roundhouse. Camden Brewery beer. Hot dogs and ale over the road at Joe’s. More beer back in the venue. Beautiful music from the Staveley-Taylors. Back into the bar for more beer. Urgh. And an über taxi home. Dirt.

I think I’ve just about recovered and it’s Saturday.

Last time we were being entertained by The Staves it was in the much more beguiling and intimate surroundings of Wilton’s Music Hall. That dust-covered marvel (surely haunted ?) is much more in tune with the heart of this band, but the bigger sound of second album ‘If I Was’ clearly suits the larger venue too, judging from the crowd’s reaction.

Certainly the combination seemed to work just fine on poppier/rockier numbers such as ‘Blood I Bled’ and the always-excellent ‘Teeth White’. Added to that, the band managed to surprise me with their performance of ‘Black & White’, a song I’ve frequently skipped. Normally, I find it a bit of a bum note, especially the “like an empty chair” section, but on Monday night it was pulsating and insistent.

Elsewhere, despite some lulls in the second half of the set (the inevitable outcome for subtle, quite tracks in a larger hall), they threw in an exciting alternate version of ‘Mexico’, a wonderful rendition of my favourite track ‘Sadness Don’t Own Me’, and new tracks ‘Hopeless’, which opened the set beautifully, and ‘Tired As Fuck’ with significant wigging-out at the end.

And that’s it for 2015, from them at least. This was the last night of their tour – but they’ve already shown us a few songs of new material, so I daresay it won’t be long before we hear from them in 2016.  Plan on setting some time aside.

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