The Civil Wars at The Wiltern: We Voted For Talent and Won

November 19, 2011
Los Angeles, CA

The Civil Wars

The Civil Wars (photo by Tec Petaja)

If you listen closely, there are multiple varying tones to applause: polite, obligatory, appreciative, supportive, congratulatory and many more. The sound of applause generates momentum and creates a feeling. Among the most special experiences is when audience applause sets the tone and spirit of a show, in contrast to coming after the events and moments of a show.

When John Paul White and Joy Williams (The Civil Wars) took the stage at The Wiltern, the applause led the show. It lasted a while. It was the sound of great triumph; the sound of victory. I don’t think I’ve experienced that specific tone of applause, in person, prior to this show. I imagine it’s heard during a parade when the hometown athlete brings home an Olympic gold medal. It may be similar to the sound of applause during the celebration of a victorious political campaign.

The applause of the crowd was amplified – we were applauding The Civil Wars, but we were also applauding ourselves. The Civil Wars are “our” band. There weren’t any radio stations, TV talk shows, publicity stunts, or million dollar marketing spends telling us we should listen to The Civil Wars. We discovered them and we told our friends. We purchase their music and sell out their live shows because we support true talent. The Civil Wars sold 100,000 records in 4 months, without a major label. The fans get credit for helping The Civil Wars succeed because there were only 3 factors in this “formula”: The Civil Wars, their music, and the fans.  We did it.  We “voted” for talent.  And we won.

In Los Angeles, we’ve purchased tickets to The Civil Wars’ sold out shows at The Hotel Cafe (capacity: 165), Largo (capacity: 280), The El Rey (capacity: 700) and now The Wiltern (capacity: 2,300).  We’ll follow them to The Greek (capacity: 5,900) and The Hollywood Bowl (capacity: 18,000). We’ll set up the “Who The Fuck Are The Civil Wars?!” website when they win their first Grammy. We’re proud of The Civil Wars.  This is the music we’re choosing.  These are the people we want to succeed.  That is the sound of the applause that preceded The Civil Wars’ show at The Wiltern.

After the applause, the celebration, the fuck yeahs and the thank yous, the show began and, in contrast to the sound of uproarious applause, the crowd was silent.  The music and voices of John Paul White and Joy Williams then carried us from one victory to the next, song after song, we celebrated The Civil Wars.

[Updated December 2, 2011]
The Civil Wars have been nominated for 2 Grammys this year: “Best Country Duo/Group Performance” and “Best Folk Album”. Here’s their interview with The Grammys upon learning the news:

Response to The Civil Wars at The Wiltern: We Voted For Talent and Won

  1. Pingback: The Civil Wars Reenactment | Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing

  2. I had never thought of my love for The Civil Wars in quite that way, but never before have I been so proud to support musicians in their work. This was an exceptionally well written piece.

  3. I have bought 14 CD’s myself and given them away . Some B-day Gifts, Wedding Gifts, some Thank You gifts. Seen 3 shows and bought tickets for 10 peeps last night. U feel the theatre with warmth and unity. Thanks 4 being U. We thouroughly enjoyed it. I am on a civil wars high after a live show. It lasts about 24 hours. C U next time U come 2 town….

  4. This pretty much sums up how I feel about TCW. A friend drug me to a July show in John Paul’s home town of Florence, Alabama. I was, of course, blown away. I’ve had an active 40 year concert career; TCW were an instant top five. Since then, I’ve sung their praises to anyone who would listen.

    My wife and I have a similar love for Carolina Chocolate Drops, who have made it much the same way: pure talent.

  5. These guys have TRUE musical talent. It was an amazing show. Definitely one of the best live shows I’ve been to and its so simple, two singers and a guitar, occasionally a piano. I teared up on “My Father’s Father” and the entire audience was silently listening along. Their version of “Disarm” is better than the original and “Billy Jean” although its a classic, is amazing and so much fun. I love these guys and I’m their biggest cheerleader. Glad to see they have lots of other cheerleaders out there for them. I want to see them go far!

  6. I absolutely couldn’t agree with you anymore
    i have such a protective feeling over the miraculous discovery of john & joy together. perfect article for my perfect duo.

  7. “We’ll follow them to The Greek (capacity: 5,900) and The Hollywood Bowl (capacity: 18,000).” I’m 95% sure you mean that we WOULD follow them to those sites, but I’m really hopeful over the 5% possibility you meant that you know about a planned show date in the future coming back to Southern CA??? We missed both of their stops this year in June and this past weekend unfortunately, but hope they’ll be back after their 2012 European tour!

  8. Pingback: Win Tickets to See Beady Eye at The Wiltern | Rock Is A Girl's Best Friend

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