Civil Twilight put on a hell of a show for only a handful of people this past Wednesday at Maison. It could’ve been the mid-week time slot, or that the Cape Town quartet’s main fan base were stuck studying for finals but only twenty to thirty slightly impassioned music fans turned out for their big easy debut.
The mid-sized Frenchmen street venue hosted opener Coyotes earlier at a small front stage but Civil Twilight were given the full headliner treatment, performing in Maison’s back room. A majority of their set was devoted to their latest album, the critically acclaimed Holy Weather. It’s easy to see where comparisons to U2 and Muse come into play. Lead singer Steven McKellar’s timbre is early Bono while the driving force behind his bass-playing is reminiscent of Matthew Bellamy.
It was truly a treat to see the band switch instruments multiple times, completely changing the vibe of each impending song with the addition of an acoustic guitar or use of synth and drums only. “Move/Stay” was red hot with dark, danceable beats while the band’s big hit “Letters From the Sky” came off as far more subdued.
An unexpected cover of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” was an engrossing progressive rock take on the trip hop single that came towards the latter third of the show. Sadly, right as the band was hitting their groove and guitarist Andrew McKellar was midway through his solo, audio issues completely wrecked the vibe of the rollicking cover. Though Civil Twilight was fast approaching the end of their set by that point, many in attendance just couldn’t be bothered with the minimal input issues that plagued the band for maybe five minutes total.
By the time Civil Twilight had hit their last notes and were preparing to the leave the stage, there weren’t enough people to properly applaud them much less request an encore. Despite the evident frustrations that had brought, Civil Twilight were solid in their performance and gave it their all to a crowd who was barely there to begin with. I’d hate for the only thing Civil Twilight take away from their experience in New Orleans is that you can drink in the streets, as Steven had mentioned early on in the set. Next time New Orleans, show the hell up.