Gig Reviews

The Waifs – Enmore Theatre 26/02/11

It has been two years since The Waifs last touched down on our shores. They’ve now returned in support of their new album, Temptation. It is a calm and relaxing night at the Enmore Theatre.

The show kicks off with Mama Kin supporting, a brother-sister folk duo with a backing drummer. Vocalist, Danielle Caruana is filled with energy as she bounces around the stage. The music does well to lift the spirits in the room from a quiet and somber Saturday to a more upbeat and lively evening. Half folk-music concert, half comedy show, Danielle spends as much time talking to and making jokes as she does singing songs. While at first it makes for a nice change, she begins to take it a few steps past the punch line and we’re all just anxious to hear The Waifs.

Though the Enmore is far mellower than I have ever known it and half the room is seated, there is still a sense of excitement in the air. The room is filled with loyal Waifs fans eager to see the return of the W.A. trio. As they step on to the stage, the show immediately kicks off.

Sisters Donna Simpson and Vikki Thorn take to the microphone and fill the room with a powerfully soft and beautiful vocal combination that could tame an angry, sex deprived lion during mating season. Their voices resonate through the Enmore, sounding as good, if not better than they do on record.

From the new track previews to the old classics, there is something magical about The Waifs and their music being played live. It comes from the heart and makes things sound so simple until you really listen to the brilliant complexity of it. The sing-a-long of Lighthouse is the biggest and most obvious highlight of the night, matched only with a pregnant Vikki Thorn tearing into a harmonica every few songs like a prettier, jovial Bob Dylan.

The interaction with the audience and sharing of stories that make each song special to each member for different reasons draws the crowd in, making this one of the most personal shows I’ve ever experienced. The fact that The Waifs can do this in a venue that holds 2000 people is not only amazing, but a testament to their loyalty to their fans and vice versa.

With a two-hour set, it is only fair that the mood begins to dip two-thirds of the way through the show and people begin to step back into their own conversations in the back of the venue. This doesn’t stop the band from playing beautiful music to the rest of the room who have their eyes glued to the stage.

As things draw to a close, we are given a double encore. First featuring the whole band performing a few songs together, only to have Donna Simpson return with Josh Cunningham to close the night with the calming and melodic Rescue to close the night off with a soft yet perfect note.

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