The Civil Wars performed to a capacity crowd at Hotel Café while making their first West Coast appearance as a duo. Many arrived early in hopes of finding a table, but standing room only became the last option as the audience filled the room. Without introduction, the duo jumped into their setlist as the crowd’s appreciation grew louder.

Joy Williams and John Paul White softly serenaded the crowd throughout the night. Although each of them provided a different vocal extreme, they complimented each other with high-tempo melodies and low-key harmonies.

White continued the evening with an acoustic guitar, which is a staple to their Americana folk sound. Williams ventured over to the baby grand piano where she added peaceful rhythms that lingered amongst the crowd. Together they fed off the energy radiated across the floor. Their passion for music was evident as they stared passed one another, delivering back-to-back heartfelt performances that generated loud cheers. Still, the Civil Wars remained full of laughs and smiles after each song while embracing the crowd’s reactions.

Although only meeting two years ago, the chemistry shared on stage leads one to believe they must have performed in a past life. The loudest reactions came as the duo pushed themselves during collaborative performances. Their setlist included a few cover songs from various artists. “You Are My Sunshine” was well received by the audience as the gentle lullaby filled the air; Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” was also performed, adding a slower, more emotional delivery than the original. They closed the night with “Poison & Wine,” currently available online.

The Civil Wars will release their debut album Feb. 1, titled Barton Hallow. Make sure to see them live next time they are in town.