For sisters Alana, Este, and Danielle Haim, the three years since the release of their critically lauded debut Days Are Gone have been nothing short of a whirlwind. From their BBC Sound of 2013 win to sold-out arena tours with Taylor Swift, these Angelenos have in a comparatively short period of time cultivated an enviably large fanbase, a small fraction of which showed up to fill The Fonda to capacity as part of Red Bull Sound Select’s 30 Days in LA.
There are no doubt musicians who would let such a meteoric rise go to their head, but part of Haim’s allure (undeniable musical talent aside) is how down to earth they still manage to be. “I used to come to The Fonda, like, as a patron!” bassist Este Haim exclaimed half in disbelief shortly after set opener “If I Could Change Your Mind.” It wasn’t the first time the trio and accompanying backing band had played at the venue, but you get the impression that they haven’t quite fully comprehended their own bigness.
Although Haim’s catalog leans unashamedly on the poppier side of the spectrum, make no mistake, these ladies are a far cry from your studio-manufactured divas. They all play multiple instruments, they write their own songs, and they’re heavily involved in the music production process.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words…
They’re also animals on stage, with some serious shredding chops, something you may not necessarily expect from them if all you’ve been exposed to is their album. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the melodic dreaminess of a track like “Falling” on the record, but there’s something so satisfying about hearing it getting the sandpaper treatment live, rock star hair flips and all.
Although Danielle is typically the one assuming frontwoman duties for the band, big sis bassist Este took over for a sublime cover of Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U,” which was excellent on its own merit but made all the more poignant given the singer’s recent passing — a wonderful tribute to an influential and innovative artist. As you’d expect, “The Wire,” arguably the group’s biggest single, had everyone in the venue singing their little hearts out.
But as far as definitive concert highlight moments are concerned, the untitled extended drum solo finale at the end of the encore wins this one. It was raw, it was unexpected, it showcased the band’s excellent coordination skills, and it literally made my hair vibrate (yay, percussion).
At some point midway through the set, Danielle mentioned that the band had a new album in the works. Let’s hope that album drops sooner rather than later. I’m all for more electrifying hometown shows like this one.
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