The Head and the Heart at Warehouse Live, 11/14/2013
Photos by Jim Bricker
The Head and the Heart Warehouse Live November 14, 2013
I think Thursday is starting to be that night again where everyone decides not to worry about how they feel the next morning at work. When I was growing up, "thirsty" Thursdays were the thing, especially when I was first legally allowed to get a drink in a bar. It seemed to stop being a thing, with each day of the week taking over as that weekday that was socially acceptable to have a few cocktails.
Well, the past few weeks around town have been noticeably busier at bars, restaurants and concert venues, packing rooms with people looking to let loose. That was no different at Warehouse Live Thursday, where The Head and the Heart were headlined their first show in Houston since last summer's not-nearly-as-packed performance at Fitzgerald's.
In just a year's time, they've taken that next step into the bigger ballrooms, selling out shows from coast to coast. And for good reason too. While their sudden rise in popularity is due to a handful of songs that have been overplayed on the radio, the programming gods finally got it right for once and allowed a band that actually deserves it to get their due.
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It's always interesting following a band during their gradual rise to the top, seeing how much regular touring and a solid list of songs pays off in the long run. While they've been fortunate enough to have so much radio play, they wouldn't have had the continued success that they've had without being such road stalwarts. They know what they're doing on a live stage, and present their music in a way that makes it sound even better than on record.
The Head and the Heart have made it all the way from opening for bands at smaller clubs just a few years ago all the way to selling out a Thursday evening slot at Warehouse Live -- a pretty impressive feat for such a young band that only recently released their sophomore followup to their widely successful eponymous Sub Pop debut. It's much different to stand behind 2,000 people to see a band rather than behind just two, but the Head and the Heart have translated their performance perfectly from the small stages they commanded not too long ago to the significantly bigger and more packed-out rooms of today.
While several people in attendance didn't really seem to be there for any purpose other than conversation with their sorority sisters they've been holding on to for the past decade, most others were there because they actually loved the band. If it were on any other week night than Thursday, we fans would have been left alone with the band, allowed to fully enjoy what they were finely displaying onstage throughout the night.
It's too bad some people paid their way in just to talk to their friends, leaving the show sold out, because I know I saw several people outside who would have given their left leg to catch that performance.
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The set focused a bunch of the set on their new album, Let's Be Still, which is still yet to reach my ear waves, but from what I heard Thursday, it sounded really good. They've taken the harmonious folk that they perfected on their first album, and widened the sound to make it bigger and more deserving of such a large room.
The old stuff was there too. You could immediately tell which album a song was from as soon as it started. If it was Let's Be Still, the crowd would get immediately chatty. If it was from the first album, however, the audience all of the sudden became super-attentive and sang every last word. Specifically during their two radio hits "Lost In My Mind" and "Down In the Valley," was when the crowd loved it the most.
I've seen a bunch of Seattle bands lately (Voodoo had both Pearl Jam and Macklemore), and I'm not sure what it is that helps churn out so many great bands from that city, but they've been doing it right up there for nearly three decades. It must be something in the coffee.
The Head and the Heart have a big career ahead of them. After just a few short years they have a huge, dedicated fanbase, one that will continue to grow right along with the band. Their future is exciting, and assuredly filled with years of good tidings. With bands coming and going quicker than their song leaves your head, it's refreshing to see such a success story by a quality band like this.
Thao of the Get Down Stay Down
Tell Me a Little Bit About the Opener: Thao and the Get Down Stay Down have been one of my favorites for many years now, and this set proved why. She jumped from instrument to instrument, singing songs about break-ups with her effortless breathy voice. Backed by a solid three piece band, It was the perfect lead-in to THATH. Several years back they were supposed to play the Orange Show, but it was unfortunately rained out. Remember when they used to have quality national touring acts playing that storied art installation? Those shows were the shit.
Personal Bias: I've been a THATH fan for ages, ever since catching them at a Paste SXSW party several years back.
The Crowd:: A mixed bag of THATH superfans and fraternity douches.
Overheard In the Crowd: The cries from a girl who bawled uncontrollably during "Down In the Valley." She and her boyfriend were clutching each other throughout the show, screaming each song into the ether, until it finally came to a head (or tears, I guess) at the very end of the performance. It was kind of ridiculous. Why have I never been moved that much by a show, or anything rather? Guess I'm an emotionless twit.
Random Notebook Dump: If you've been to WHL lately, you've probably noticed the giant lights marking both the women's and men's bathrooms. Were people having that much trouble finding them that they had to display it so clearly? Even the bands took notice, making jokes about the overly marked restrooms throughout the night.
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