Saturday, September 24, 2011

Concert Review: The Head and the Heart @ 9:30 Club, Washington, DC- 9.23.2011

What a great concert last night at the 9:30 Club.  The Head and the Heart was everything we expected and more.  This band is on it's way to big, big things.

A bit of a cold and a week full of teaching left my voice in pretty rough shape last night.  That coupled with the fact that The Head and the Heart wouldn't be taking the stage till 11, left me hoping I could just make it through the evening.  This getting older thing is no fun at all.  Fortunately, none of those things got in the way of having a good time.

After a couple beers at our trusty nearby Irish bar, my concert buddy, Teresa, and I arrived at 9:30 Club shortly after 10.  We missed the first supporting act, Devil Whale, but walked in as Thao with the Get Down Stay Down were just starting.  Though much of the crowd talked their way through the set, as is typical, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down grabbed quite a few fans with their set.  Nearly everyone around us made some kind of positive comment.  The praise was well deserved as set was very energetic.  Favorites included "Bag Of Hammers" and a cover of "You've Really Got a Hold on Me".

As 11PM rolled around, so did The Head and the Heart.  Earlier in the evening Teresa and I talked about how surprised we were that the show was sold out given the relatively short history of the band.  It's a clear indication that this band is onto something.  The audience sang along to nearly every song, and was very enthusiastic.  Just as their self-titled debut album opens, last night's set opened with "Cats and Dogs" and "Coeur d' Alene".  From their the band ripped through each song on the album as well as a trio of new songs, each just as promising as their existing material.  The band made sure to comment on how amazing the venue and crowd was.  They had been to 9:30 Club a few months back as a supporting act for Dr. Dog.  The band seemed blown away by the response from the crowd last night.

While the entire set was top notch quality, my favorite performances were "Rivers and Roads" which ended the main set, and the final song of the evening, "Down In The Valley."  "Rivers and Roads" is a song that extends to both ends of the spectrum.  Mid song the instruments stop for vocalist and violinist Charity Rose Thielen's angelic voice.  The pause in only temporary as it quickly picks up to a raucous fervor, which slowly gets stripped back to a chorus of voices singing "Rivers and roads/Rivers and roads/ Rivers till I reach you."  Really the perfect song to get the crowd riled up for an encore.

The encore began with a solo song and ended with crowd favorite "Down In The Valley".  As we sang along I couldn't help but notice how the entire room was fully behind this newish band from Seattle.  They have quite the following, and it's clear that they'll be around for awhile.  Coming from Seattle in relative obscurity at this time last year to selling out the 9:30 Club on the other side of the country is no small feat.  Go check them out.  You won't regret it!

Back to 9:30 Club next week for Matt Nathanson!

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