Gig Review... Haim @ Roundhouse, London, 21st September 2013

“We can’t be summed up in a sentence”, hailed Alana Haim in one of the band’s latest interviews. And The LA trio’s recent show headlining a night at this year’s iTunes Festival backs this statement up with little hesitation. From exhilarating guitar jams to childhood montages, accustomed family drum battles to crowd surfing and Jelly Tots to Percy Pigs; the packed out Camden Roundhouse certainly got what it had wanted. With it being almost a year to the day that fame vaulted them from support (to Ellie Goulding) to headlining, the sisters were very grateful to the UK crowd regarding this fan base as the reason for their ubiquity.

Kicking off with ‘Falling’ helped bring the Californian vibes to North London and in doing so got majority of the crowd swaying and jumping with harmonious chorus. Follow up ‘The Wire’ showed us why this band were so notorious over the summer festival circuit – providing an edgier material and atmosphere live than on record. Danielle’s voice seemingly croakier and more rugged than normal gave the performance a raw and exciting twist.

© 2013 The Line Of Best Fit / Courtesy of Burak Cingi

The sisters talked about family drum-offs and a homely living room before breaking out into a raucous rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Oh Well’. Choosing this heavier Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac song advertised their pure talent, energy and outstanding technical ability with Danielle slaying riffs, Alana blasting the drums and Este rocking the bass (with typical bass face – always a thrill). ‘Honey & I’ (an album treat) was the only song of the night to not have featured heavily in their impressive back catalogue. However, the mixture of a softer, dreamier intro with a drifting rock finale was the highlight of the night incorporating every known influence of Haim from R&B to pop to Fleetwood Mac shtick.

‘Go Slow’ provides a nice change of pace to the set but one that is short lived as Alana emphasises that “this is a Saturday, we should be raging”. Fan favourites ‘Send Me Down’ and ‘Don’t Save Me’ are a testament to why Haim have been granted a headline slot, and confirm the band have undoubted chemistry without over-romanticising the sibling thing. Dispersed among the set is idle chatter from all three members which escalated to them praising M&S for the production of Percy Pigs and jumping down into the crowd to take advantage of spare chocolate and Jelly Tots.

During ‘Forever’, a montage of childhood memories are displayed on the large monitors placed behind the band; ranging from younger days of playing in the snow, first days of school and more current moments such as them dancing in front of the Union Jack. An obvious encore followed with “Better Off” and big finale “Let Me Go” with prompted a hoodoo riot involving tribal drum rallies rattling back and forth and belting vocals from Danielle has she gives everything left in the tank.
A quick stage dive from Este ends the show, to the crowd stomping in harmony to the chants of “Haim! Haim! Haim!”

With the release of their highly anticipated debut album 'Days Are Gone' set to hit us on September 30th, Haim made sure this was one performance that would have you pre-ordering their album immediately. Having started off the year on a high winning the coveted BBC’s ‘Sound of 2013’ poll, the Haim sisters, now signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation label, have proved they’re a force to be reckoned with.

Supporting Haim on the night were an impressive list of artists including 20 year old singer/songwriter Gabrielle Aplin, Manchester based Bipolar Sunshine (Adio Marchant), and 23 year old singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Dan Croll. 
Be sure to check out full highlights on the iTunes Festival  website.

Written by - Richard Maver

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