LIVE REVIEW: The Staves + Mikaela Davis at Gorilla, Manchester

After a year in America, The Staves have returned home for a string of intimate shows on British soil, beginning at Gorilla in Manchester tonight. Their latest release was February’s ‘Tired As F*ck’ single, providing the name for this mini tour.

Support act Mikaela Davis mesmerises the hushed audience with just harp and vocals, and is the perfect warm up with her enchanting songs.

The Staves are welcomed to the stage as if they are Manchester’s own. From the glitchy opening vocals of ‘Outlaw’ to the crunch and swagger of ‘Black & White’, the sisters own the stage with their tight-knit presence and staggering harmonies. They handle all vocal and instrumental duties themselves (with the exception of drums), swapping between guitars, basses and keys; they even make a ukulele cool on ‘Blood I Bled’.

They thank the audience for coming at a time when choosing whether or not to go to a show is a difficult one, referring to the attack at a concert in the city merely a week before; the whole room has a glowing unity.

‘No Me, No You, No More’ and ‘Let Me Down’ are heart-wrenching examples of the group’s vocal capabilities, while ‘Teeth White’ lifts the mood back up with possibly the cheeriest of choruses about not being cheerful. After the seductive swagger of ‘Tired As F*ck’, they leave the stage before returning to perform in the simplest way possible, by gathering around a solitary microphone; three voices, one guitar. They do two songs, ‘Gone Tomorrow’ and ‘Mexico’, accompanied dutifully by the audience on every word.

Here, The Staves have set the bar of what can be done with no add-ons to the live show. Great songs, fantastic sounds and mesmerising voices. If this isn’t the best in its category (if it has one), then I don’t know what is.

The Staves’ ‘Tired As F**k’ is out now via Atlantic Records. Find on iTunes here.

Live photos copyright to Tom Saunders

For gig announcements and updates from The Staves, head to the Website.

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