Haim played LA with Steven A Clark & Charlotte Day Wilson (pics, review)
After shows by Car Seat Headrest, Jeremih, and others, Red Bull Sound Select’s 30 Days In LA series continued on Tuesday (11/15) with Haim headlining the Fonda Theater. Opening sets came from the Secretly Canadian-signed Steven A. Clark and BadBadNotGood collaborator Charlotte Day Wilson.
The openers both were warmly received (Charlotte Day Wilson in particular), but the crowd was clearly really excited for Haim, who were playing for their hometown for the first time in a while. And they played to that crowd beautifully, with a tight, high-energy set filled with bangers. Haim are firmly part of the recent wave of pop acts that blur, or even erase, the line between indie-pop and mainstream radio music, along with the likes of Charli XCX, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jessie Ware, CHVRCHES, and various others. What Haim brings to that table specifically, and what speaks to me the most about them, is a strong dose of classic rock, and that element sets them apart as a live act as well.
Their sound is bright and shiny, their set well-choreographed, and their moves are straight out of 1977. Singer and lead-guitarist Danielle busts out fire-breathing guitar solos like it’s her job (it is) and bassist Este is a well-chronicled and expert practitioner of the bass-face. They played two new songs; the first was called “Gimme Just a Little of Your Love” and was an upbeat, soul-inflected gem. The second (whose name I missed) was a roaring arena-rock power-ballad straight out of, like, Boston’s playbook. They covered Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U” with Este on lead vocals. They closed the set with an extended drum solo in which each of the three sisters contributed. It was a classical, hammy (in the best way) rock and roll show, and it communicated a real kind of ultra-positive joy to the people in the crowd, who were — needless to say — a bit weary from the past week.
And man, are the songs from that first album still great. It feels like they’ve been around for a long time, which I guess they have if 2013 seems like a long time ago (they promised that they were putting the “finishing touches” on a new album). “The Wire” in particular, which they closed with, is as airtight a pop song as I have heard in the past several years, a marvel of hybrid influences from the likes of Destiny’s Child, Fleetwood Mac, and good old Shania Twain. And speaking of Fleetwood Mac, “Honey and I” is the best Fleetwood Mac song that Fleetwood Mac never wrote. And Haim are the rare pop group that truly improves on their material live. It was a great set, and I only wish they had played longer.
Pictures of the show are in the gallery above.