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The Staves, Christof - McHughes, Belfast

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ATL | 12:59 UK time, Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Staves poster

 

The Staves, Christof
McHugh’s, Belfast
23rd April 2012


It’s a sold out gig in McHugh’s basement tonight; the place is as full as a butcher’s dog and we’re all eager to hear some fine folk. First to the stage is Christof, armed - in true folky style - with only a guitar and harmonica. Originally from The Netherlands but having lived in Galway for a stint, he’s no stranger to these shores. He’s got style, and I’m quite envious of his gravity defying hair-do.

His music is a lovely blend of whimsical folk, but always with an essential catchy hook. After a slight technical hitch, he launches into ‘The Ghost Of Corrib’s Lady’ and the title of his latest E.P ‘Honey Tears’ back to back, his songs of love and life being lapped up by this evening’s crowd. Inviting The Staves on the stage to tackle a bit of backing harmony on ‘Mind Yourself’, with perfect vocal throughout and a chorus that creeps up on you, it builds into a stomper and is a sign of things to come.

Christof leaves us with a new song ‘Digging The Waves’, proving that he’s the real deal, joking about his website, claiming that he has a long way to go before he becomes the ‘Christ Of Music’. He’s won this audience over and his music is exceptional, but go on over and take a listen- www.christofmusic.com

With Christof all packed up, it’s time for tonight’s main act The Staves to hit the stage. The 3 sisters launch straight into the title track of their recent release ‘Motherlode’, with flawless harmonies and music as clever as it is delicate. There’s been an obvious trendy folk revival of late, given the mainstream success of Laura Marling and Mumford and Sons, but the girls are musically a league ahead of many of their U.K peers, displaying the kind of musical knowledge that can only come from growing up together and knowing each other inside out. Highlights include ‘Mexico’ and ‘Tongue Behind My Teeth’, a tune that has the perfect amount of angst, and makes full use of their back-line lads on bass and kit.

The main appeal of the ‘The Staves’ is the vocal arrangements, which throughout, are something that Motown would have been proud to put the stamp on. The girls also have great chemistry amongst themselves and with the crowd, poking fun at each other and charming McHugh’s in the process. They leave us with ‘Winter Trees’ before a 2 song encore where they invite Christof back up to return the musical favor. There’s a full length album due in the summer where Glynn & Ethan Johns have weighed in, as well as tour support to Bon Iver on the cards, so it’s looking good for the gals. Believe the hype.

“Lovely girls,” Father Ted might describe them.

Eamon Murray

 

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