Last Thursday I had the opportunity to review one of the most exciting bands of 2013 at The Institute in Birmingham thanks to Toast Press. After being named the sound of 2013, Californian sister trio Haim went on to score a #1 with their debut album Days Are Gone, along with opening the pyramid stage at Glastonbury. They finally embarked on a headline tour this December, and after Danielle suffered illness and forced the band to postpone their Norwich show, Birmingham had the honour of being the opening night.
The venue was packed and the crowd were anticipating a night of madness which was only slightly dampened by a moody support band called Saint Raymond. The musicians were actually very skilled, but their frontman was one of the most uncharismatic and dull performers I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve seen The Horrors live… twice. They exited swiftly after five tracks and the audience began to excitedly chatter as Haim time was drawing ever closer. After a 30 minute gap, the three sisters appeared to deafening cheers and applause as the reverberated drums of ‘Falling’ echoed around the room. Este ‘bass face’ Haim led this track as her sister Danielle still looked visibly ill onstage, screams pursued as the band launched into romping single ‘The Wire’ and the audience erupted in joy as baby Haim sang her first verse.
The girls were elated to be onstage and they really appreciated the adoration of the crowd as they began to jam to a cover of ‘Oh Well’ by the legendary Fleetwood Mac, this was their crowning moment and proof that Haim are not pop stars but skilled, talented musicians. The guitar riffs bounced around the crowd and the building crescendo of drums charged the atmosphere with a deadly voltage before a final moment of ecstasy, world class. The setlist picked highlights from the debut LP with gems such as ‘Honey & I’ getting an appreciated airing along with a moody rendition of ‘My Song 5’. It was a shame to see Danielle looking disengaged at points due to her illness but Este and Alana’s charming banter with the crowd offered distraction.
‘Don’t Save Me’ signalled the beginning of the end as the whole crowd jumped in unison whilst Alana aggressively exclaims ‘baby, don’t save me, if your love isn’t strong’. A quiet Danielle then instructed the crowd to rave harder for closer ‘Forever’ which received the largest cheer of the evening and was played to perfection. The audience clapped, shouted and stomped until the trio returned for an encore of ‘Let Me Go’ with its brilliant united drumming outro. At the very beginning of their first tour, Haim are showing incredible amounts of potential. With practice and dedication I believe they could be the Fleetwood of this generation. A large claim, but it matches the size of the girls’ musical ability.
Please enjoy a selection of bass faces below.