Nottingham Rock City
Tuesday March 4th March 2014
This was Haim’s first show of their UK tour and appropriately it is kicking off at the legendary Rock City (surely the venue with the worlds stickiest floor!). Haim have been caught up in a load of hype since they first came to the attention of the UK music press. Initially, this appeared that it was mainly on the back of the novelty of three young, attractive girls in a band. The delay in the album release then saw questions being raised about then authenticity. The album itself ‘Days Are Gone’, thankfully, proved to be a great slice of modern pop rock. Having hit the festival circuit last year, this set of gigs will be a real test if Haim can really cut in on the live scene. There was certainly a lot of anticipation at, the packed to the rafters, Rock City. Whilst, admittedly, there were a lot of ‘hipsters’ at the gig (lots of young beards!) there were also some seasoned gig goers.
Actually, the first thing which was noticeable was the quality and efficiency of the crew. I’ve never seen a stage set and ready to go so promptly and in such a calm and orderly manner. This was a clear indication that we are dealing with a professional outfit. Therefore, when the band hit the stage, it was no surprise that the sound is brilliant, and will remain so during the gig. The fact that the band open with the awesome song, “Falling”, helps of course! This immediately has the crowd on side and cheering away. When you hear Danielle Haim’s guitar, you suddenly realise that this is one fantastic player, who delivers a hell of a punch with her solos. They quickly follow up the opener with “If I Could Change Your Mind”, which is a great AOR/Rock classic and where you can see the Fleetwood Mac references. Alam Haim gets the crowd going with dancing and hand clapping,as she does through-out the gig.
The band then announce they were going to have a jam and proceed to deliver a true rock n roll show. It is noticeable that there are lots of screams declaring “I Love You”. Noticeably, this is not just from lustful teenage boys, but mainly from girls. It makes you realise just how great it is to have a band like Haim on the scene. They are a band that girls can look up to and, hopefully, inspire them to be form their own group. Whilst clearly attractive, they don’t focus on this, the guitarist may be wearing very short shorts (her ‘lucky shorts’ as she describes them), but instead what comes across most is their love for the music they are playing. This is no more obvious then when bassist Este Haim climbs above the speakers and leans out across the baying crowd. Then when the band reach “Days Are Gone” we get to see, first hand, the brilliant facial expressions from her, that could only be achieved by someone really in to their music!
After a classic U.S. pronunciation of Nottinghaaaam, the audience are told that we will be getting a song to ‘shake your arse to’, and then the added benefit of an example of the moves the crowd are expected to show. They then play “My Song 5” which has a real urban sound and provides a great change in dynamic and the crowd react accordingly. In contrast, they then follow it up with the slower and more atmospheric “Go Slow” which shows that all the girls can really sing and there is no weak link.
After requesting that next time the crowd bring pancakes, whipped cream and strawberries?!? they bring the set to a peak with a great double whammy of songs. First up is “Don’t Save Me” which the crowd love and all join in. They then follow it up with the equally brilliant “Forever” which just sends the crowd crazy. The band then leave the stage with the audience crying out for more.
Thankfully, they are soon back on with a Beyonce cover and also, just to rub in the extent of their talent, the lead singer/guitarist is now on drums! The band do some rock poses for a picture from the stage, which is a nice touch to show how much this tour means to them. They then take the roof off by playing “The Wire” which is really just a great glam stomper of a song, with plenty of hand claps. The whole set is then closed with “Let Me Go”, but it is a very different one to the album version. It has a double drum sound which brings back memories of Adam & The Ants (ask your mum or dad!) before all three band members end up bashing a drum each to create a great tribal finale.
This was a great gig, by a hugely talented band who seem determined to demonstrate that their success is fully deserved. However, perhaps more importantly, it is also great fun. It is likely that for many of the audience this may be the first time they have seen a ‘proper’ band and certainly a show which really rocked like this. That can only be a good thing, as it will hopefully see more bands gain success. Most of the UK tour is now sold out, but if there is any way you can beg, borrow or steal (well perhaps not steal!) a ticket, then make sure you do.