Haim with IO Echo
Granada Theater, Lawrence, Kansas
October 10, 2013
Haim is absolutely the band to know right now. (Unless you're listening to Lorde. She's the other one that no one will stop playing.) While I had my misgivings about what the Haim show last night at the Granada would look like - forgive me if I'm not overly charmed by three singing sisters whose debut album sounds like the love child of Fleetwood Mac and Phil Collins - I will begrudgingly admit that, yes, the band has a really tight live act.
Actually, I'll readily admit it. Those sisters can rock a bitching center hair part and shred guitars like bosses, and there wasn't a single person in the audience last night who didn't totally want to be one of the Haims.
The girls strutted out onstage and took their equally spaced spots, each set up with a tom-tom drum: Este, with a shock of ruby-red lips and blond hair, assumed stage right; middle child and lead singer Danielle was in the center; Alana, the youngest Haim, took stage left, dressed in a baggy red T-shirt that almost entirely masked the fact that she was wearing teeny tiny shorts. Together onstage, with their long hair and sibling-ness, Haim was vaguely reminiscent of Hanson.
Oh, there was also a male drummer.
Anyway, they opened with "Falling," and followed it with their new hit single, "The Wire." In a live setting, Danielle's vocals come off much rougher and guttural than they do on record. On their debut record, Days Are Gone
, released on September 30, the 11 tracks come off as acid-washed, upcycled dance pop; in person, Haim is all rock, and they don't water it down.
"We're gonna jam for a second," announced Este by way of introducing the third song. "This is what we do at our house when our parents aren't around - we pick up some instruments and see what happens."
What happened was a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well." The musicians engaged in some massive guitar riffs, pulling the bass faces that they have undoubtedly been practicing in the mirror since they could first grasp their instruments with tiny toddler hands. I wondered mildly if anyone would smash a guitar at any point, and decided that if the entire show was muted, it would look like we were watching a metal hair band perform.
"Honey I," one of Days Are Gone
's softer songs, was given a hard punk-rock treatment. It's hard to put a finger on exactly what kind of range Danielle Haim is working with, but on "Honey I," her voice was Joan Jett-style rough and raspy, offsetting the sweetness of the chorus and the propulsive drumbeats.
"Do you think they'd still be as good if they cut all their hair off?" someone behind me asked her companion.