The Head and the Heart @ 02 Institute, 30th January, 2017

The Head and the Heart @ 02 Institute, 30th January, 2017

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Nothing soothes the soul like an incredible show. All the music heads out there know this truth all too well. The dark lights, the thudding rhythm, the people around you emotionally pouring out their souls in fervent yelps. Nothing beats a well-timed show. It was a cold and dreary night, and The Head and the Heart put on a show that was magically mystifying, just what many weary souls needed that night.

The Head and the Heart is an American band that infuse their music with hints of indie, pop, and folk. The third album Signs of Light was just released in September, and so they are taking their bright and cheery songs on the road. Playing shows all over Europe the band graced the stage at the O2 Institute, bringing energy and fervour to an otherwise cold and dreary day.

The show jumped off with new single “All We Ever Knew.” The upbeat pop tuned song is a perfect blend of the old sound of The Head and the Heart (THATH) and their newest sound. While their sound and show fits on a large stage, the band perfectly filled the room with enthusiasm and excitement. From the moment the first song streamed through the speakers we knew we where in for a good time. “City of Angeles” an indie tempo crooner from the newest album followed next. The swinging road trip vibe, a directed emotion that follows through this entire album, typifies the new pop sensitivity that THATH are bringing to the music world. Jonathan Russell’s vocals have an angelic reverberation that quiets the audience as we take in the beauty of the song.

The peace doesn’t last for long, the band transitions into “Ghosts,” a clear fan favourite from their first album. Keyboardist Kenny Hensley brings the haunting undertone of the song that fills the room. As the song progresses the band interacts with band mates and the crowd, and it becomes radically clear that THATH mixes experienced professionalism with youthful energy and glee. While the song is slow and dramatic, the energy is light and cheerful. “Rhythm & Blues” fills the next slot. The heavy electric guitar noted in this new song is certainly a defining characteristic of the expansion of sound that is noted within THATH.

“Another Story” and “Lets Be Still” continue the good vibes. With these songs singer and violinist  Charity Rose Thielen becomes the focus. Her voice rings over these tunes, a mixture of breathy grit her voice dances over the indie folk rock that permeated their early career. There is a unique juxtaposition noted between the ethereal violinist and her voice and the heart pumping down beat of the songs. In the musical moshpit there is a sweetness and beauty that only comes from a THATH gig. “Take a Walk,” “Lost In My Mind,” and “Winter Song” bring about the acoustic side that displays the three part harmonies and brilliant musicianship that is not always noted in live shows. The love between the band seeps into the audience, and we all feel deeply connected as each song evolves into another.

The set draws to a close with “Oh My Dear,” “Sounds Like Hallelujah,” and personal favourite “Down In the Valley.” As the sound rings the world melts around us, and the cheer of the stage intertwines with the audience. In desperation we clap and yell for an encore, and are greeted with a rousing rendition of Charity’s written song “Library Magic.” The new song reminds audiences that making music is what we do. The understanding that their will always be better days seems to be a truth that needs to be heard by so many. The night ends with “Shake” and “Rivers and Roads.” The symbiosis of the band mixes with the demonstration of their power, creating a perfect concoction of force and ease. As the audience revels in the magic of the night we join in the supremacy that is a THATH show.

With a new album and numerous shows in front of them The Head and the Heart delivered an unparalleled performance that brought about much needed energy and enjoyment. The American band continues to create beautifully touching and sunny music that creates a joyous atmosphere when played live.


Reviewer – Kylie McCormick

Photo courtesy of PR.

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