“I said fuck in a church,” one third of The Staves, Emily Staveley-Taylor, observed as she addressed punters in the deathly quiet Pepper Canister Church. She was right, she did – and successfully managed to drop the F-bomb another three or four times as she explained how weird it was to swear in such a sombre environment – all the while slugging gingerly from a bottle of beer.
This kind of humour and gentle banter peppered The Staves’ first Dublin concert since their headline gig in Whelan’s last year. Last night, they charmed the audience with both their cheeky chattering and their freakishly hypnotic harmonies and catchy folk numbers.
The Staves are an ideal live act to see in a creaky, little church – their dream-like and almost nostalgic songs ring home with some of the whimsy associated with being in a church.
Their vocal abilities and sweet guitar playing were truly incredible. But – now, this might sound weird to all the die-hard folkies out there – truth being told, there is only so much three-part harmonies a listener can take without it getting a little, well, boring.
As the set progressed, the songs became less and less imaginative and slipped into that tired folk thing that’s really beginning to wear thin (you can blame Mumford and Sons and their feckin’ banjoes for that). But to The Staves credit, their electric tracks are bang on.
Anyway, this was a far, far cry from a bad gig. The Staves sisters are a really talented bunch and were nicely complimented by an equally brilliant bassist and drummer.
They paid the Irish credit for listening to them when no one else would, and treated us to a song in the crowd to which they received a standing ovation.
The Staves are always welcome to Dublin – it would just be nice if they dished out something really different next time round.