HAIM introduced themselves to Seattle Wednesday night with a show at Neumos, and if you’ve been following anything about this band for the last year, you know that’s no small event. The sold out gig had lines starting up outside in the cold more than an hour before doors (that’s pretty much unheard of for Neumos) and had people packing forward before the opening band started. But all expectations were met and superceded. HAIM threw one of the best shows of the year to a crowd that wanted nothing in the world more. Together, the interaction made for one hell of a good time. Together with a great opening set from IO ECHO, Wednesday night was a delight.
Opening the night was a great set from IO ECHO. Mixing 90s electronic textures with strong pop songwriting structure, IO ECHO made even the least familiar member of the audience an instant fan. Ioanna kept things pretty mysterious as a frontwoman, sticking to shadows and oblong contortions while belting out the vocals. But the mixture of the curiously intriguing sounds blasting out of the speakers and her antics on stage made for a heavily engaging set. The crowd went wild when IO ECHO dived into a cover of the Beatles classic "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". The band ripped out every piece in perfect fashion before finishing off the set with their hit single "Shanghai Girls". Altogether, IO ECHO made a wonderful impact on the audience and made more than a couple fans in the process.
The anticipation for HAIM was ridiculous. This show had been sold out for months at this point, and pretty much every attendee in the audience was ready to lose their mind. Finally, the lights went down and the girls entered the foreground and started in on “Falling”. 100% true to the hype, HAIM are unbelievably one-minded in the live setting. The three float seamlessly between their primary instruments, vocals, and percussion. There isn’t a single moment where every inch of the stage isn’t exploding. The same went for the audience – as soon as the music dropped, the place was livid. HAIM got their breakthrough single out of the way early, dropping “The Wire” second to thunderous applause.
But before any skeptical members of the audience had time to weigh up the plausibility of a one hit wonder, Este stared out at the crowd and smirked, “Alright. Let’s pretend we are all sitting in my living room right now. This is what happens in my living room.” With that, Alana started beating the crap out of an upright bass drum while Danielle and Este tag teamed a murderous 70s riff. For all those Fleetwood Mac comparisons they’ve garnered, it’s so great that the one they decided to cover was “Oh Well”, probably the single most face-melting track the band ever put together. After completely tearing the roof off, HAIM returned to their own material with the quiet Days Are Gone beauty of “Honey & I”. It didn’t matter whether they were playing at deafening volume or at a whisper – everything HAIM touched turned to gold tonight. And between Este’s deadpan humor, Danielle’s reserved charm, and Alana’s baby sister interactions with each, no time in between songs was wasted either. “I’m going to be really fucking sad if you don’t dance to this one”, Este said in full monotone before starting in on “Forever”. Of course, this wasn’t the case. The place lit up like it hadn’t all night and had more blood flowing in Neumos than I’ve seen in recent history. But the gesture was appreciated – even with all of their hype, HAIM are one of the most down to earth acts out there right now. There’s no prima donna mindset on stage – just a trio of incredibly talented songwriters with a knack for tearing the roof off.
Grab HAIM’s near-perfect debut LP Days Are Gone, out now on Polydoor, and see the rest of our pictures below:
By and large, the lineup for Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit is composed of electronically-based musicians. But like its namesake, it also swings a little left of center, and on Friday, it was the artists who weren't tied down to their computers, synthesizers, or sequencers that made the s...