Sometimes a venue makes all the difference. Certain bands just cant fill a stadium with their sound, and while The Watson Twins folk-tinged brand of California pop rock might get swallowed in the United Center, it was the perfect fit for the intimate setting of Evanston’s S.P.A.C.E., a cafe-sized music hall with limited seating, candlelit cabaret tables, and hushed acoustics, giving the entire evening the feel of an MTV Unplugged set.
While the Twins original songs, albeit addictive and soulful, come off as a bit light on their two studio albums, the live combination of their traded, crystalline harmonies and the lounge sway of their backing band drew in the audience, setting a mood that was both calm and captivating. They stayed away from their more stripped down material, opting instead for newer songs that showcased the musicianship of their band, such as the tumbleweed organ roll of their latest single, “Devil In You”.
The calmness of the evening nearly went into self parody during the interludes of their set with the Twins’ exchanging joking, sisterly banter with one another, their voices so mellow that it felt like a reenactment of the “Delicious Dish” sketches from Saturday Night Live. But it came from a sincere place that contributed to the relaxed, casual feel of the evening.
Things were livened up at all the right moments with a handful of well chosen covers; stripped down reinterpretations that ranged from awkwardly playful (Sweetest Taboo) to breezy (Aint No Sunshine) to heartfelt (a slowed down, harmonica soaked Just Like Heaven), rounding out a relaxed, canyon sound that transcended the usual coffee shop fare.