Friday Night: The Civil Wars at The Wortham Center
The Civil Wars
Photos by Marc Brubaker
January 20, 2012
Check out our slideshow of Civil Wars playing to a packed house.
Strolling up Wortham Center's grand staircase in advance of The Civil Wars show on Friday night, several thoughts went tumbling through Aftermath's head. We weren't certain what to expect from the show, being only vaguely familiar with the headliner after all, and felt slightly out of place attending a concert in the thousand-plus seat Cullen Theater.
The last time the duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White came through Houston, it was at McGonigel's Mucky Duck, an intimate venue that, with some generous math, provides around a sixth of the capacity that the Wortham offered. It seemed a bit odd to witness a band that eighteen months prior was largely unknown now selling out auditoriums and theaters. If only the show had been as nice as the setting.
The highlight of the night was the delightfully surprising trio of ladies known as The Staves. Hailing from just north of London, these gorgeous girls absolutely stole the show, pulling a fast one on us and many others in the crowd who were previously unfamiliar with the group.
The trio's music was at once sparse and stunning, as the ladies employed their vocal prowess set only to the accompaniment of an acoustic guitar and on some numbers, an additional ukulele. Singing in petrifying harmonies, they stood diminutively behind their microphones, dangerously charming. The songs were littered with great turns of phrase, like "Tongue Behind My Teeth's" biting "speak with words you've stolen from better men than you." In "Facing West," the girls coo, "sing me a song, your voice is like silver," but to be truthful, they were the ones possessing the golden tones.
It sure didn't hurt that the ladies were undeniably cute, and due to their accents we were smitten from the start. Judging from the utter silence during their songs, the rest of the crowd was as taken as we were. There really was the potential to hear a pin drop, an amazing display of respect given Houston concertgoer's penchant for chatting during more subdued performances. At any other venue in town, this set would've been ruined.
When it was finished, our heart had been turned into a puddle by these three Brits. They've successfully made mastery of the country-folk territory currently reigned over by acts like Fanfarlo and Fleet Foxes, and we've added their upcoming album to our watch list.