The Civil Wars are a unique duo whose haunting sound is making waves in country music. I was very excited to head to San Diego and hear The Civil Wars play live. Many in the industry had told me they were amazing and I could not wait to check them out myself. Prior to the concert, I downloaded a recording of one of their shows (from Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, GA), that they offer for free on their website. I love when an artist allows their fans to peek into their shows that way–it is like a brochure for what you are buying by purchasing tickets to their show! I liked what I heard. They are different from mainstream-it is just the two of them with no backing band.
I arrive at the venue called Anthology, located right in the heart of Little Italy. It seems a little rich and preppy but I tried to put those thoughts aside. I knew the show was going to be great. I peaked in and saw that it was a sit-down venue…one of those places that you would order food and drinks. Hmmm. Since I was already set up with my tickets for the sold out show, I walked until I spotted a little Mexican restaurant and enjoyed a quick dinner. I return just as the Civil Wars are beginning their set. The seats I spotted prior to the show were “reserve only” and the General Admission was on the second and third floors. I am telling myself this will be okay, I am sure I will still be able to see the show. I walk up to the third level and all around the entire ledge are these darn “reserved seats” again! Everyone else with the General Admission tickets (and there were a lot of us, maybe 50% of the ticket holders), had to sit way in the back. You couldn’t see anything. Now, I’m not exaggerating when I say we couldn’t see anything. I truly never saw either one of the Civil War band members in the actual flesh that night (except on the micro TV screen). I was pissed. Plus, I feel bad for everyone else at this venue who paid to see The Civil Wars and then got pushed off to the side where there wasn’t even a possibility to see the show. I was, and still am, absolutely flabbergasted that this venue even claims that General Admission tickets are tickets for the show. Then I wondered, “Do The Civil Wars know that this venue is bull sh*t? And if they do, I like them less for choosing it….” However, I have since acquitted them for choosing this horrible venue. I will be seriously irritated if they play there again (Side note: The Wailin’ Jenny’s are actually coming to town and I was excited to go…but low and behold, they are playing at this evil venue. There is no way I’m going back there).
Enough about the venue….back to The Civil Wars. They take the stage are very jovial, making light of the reality that they play pretty somber songs. They made everyone feel cool, like we were a part of the band. Joy Williams spoke between songs. She gave a little history about how the band formed (they were both song writers in Nashville, went to a blind songwriting function of sorts and they met, had some musical chemistry and they have stuck it out since). I’m sorry for being a Debbie Downer but I must say it; the girl was annoying. She has the voice of an angel and her banter was cool…but when she sings she does this thing with her hands and arms…slowly moving them about in connection with the rhythm…the whole time. It was seriously distracting and I was only seeing this on a TV screen and not in my face so as to catch every single annoying gyration. I think they need to stick a tambourine in her hand, or maybe some t-shirts to throw out in between songs… anything to keep those tiny fingers from fluttering too much.
The tunes were good. I have no complaints there. They were on point in every song. They played a few brilliant covers; an amazing version of You Are My Sunshine, the Smashing Pumpkins The Killer In Me (I actually had a hard time making out what the song was at first due to the heavy melody but I loved their version) and some song that I remember hearing in the car when my mom was on her way to Jazzercise back in the 80’s.
Despite the lame venue…and the bad hand motions… the show was amazing. I would love to see them again–at a different venue. Thanks for the heads up Taylor Swift!