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Haim thrills with sold-out show in Boston

Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013

Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2013 07:09

Eager concert-goers traveled to Boston’s Paradise Rock Club Sunday to see Haim at a sold-out show. The band, who in recent months has generated a great deal of buzz for their unique sound and eclectic image, is comprised of sisters Este, Danielle and Alana Haim and their male drummer, Dash Hutton.

Hailing from the cradle of pop culture — Los Angeles, California — the group has caught the attention of many influential artists and critics. But you’ve probably never heard of them. Why? Because Haim has yet to release a full-length album. In fact, Haim’s discography is fairly small.

However, for Haim, the old adage of quality over quantity holds true. The music that the band has released has been powerful, completely genre bending and immaculately crafted. That’s why Haim has garnered such a loyal following, why Paradise Rock Club was full of so many fervent fans last week and why Sunday’s show was nothing short of fantastic.

Haim is a new version of the guitar-pop girl group. While comparisons to bands like The Go-Go’s and Cyndi Lauper are not unwarranted (the girls have an obvious affinity for female pop artists of the 80s, which they demonstrated by dancing out on stage to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” (1987)), labeling Haim’s sound exclusively as 80s pop would be a mistake. Haim has managed to combine the most attractive aspects of many different genres and bands, channeling the powerful harmonies of Fleetwood Mac, the aggressive and nostalgic post-punk sounds of Joy Division, the soft and melodic synth of LCD Soundsystem and the powerful R&B melodies of groups like TLC, among others.

A diverse audience at Paradise Rock Club accurately reflected the dynamism of the group’s sound — quaint indie ladies with vintage dresses, large sweaty men with un-hip beards and middle-aged graphic designer types all enjoyed the concert side-by-side.

Haim’s concert was incredible for a number of reasons. First, the sisters have great chemistry, and each has a unique stage presence. Este, the bassist, has grown infamous for the contorted expressions she makes while playing and her witty banter with the crowd. Alana, the youngest of the three, is a powerhouse performer — in one memorable moment assaulting a large drum with a maraca during a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well.” Danielle is a quiet, but ferocious lead singer, performing honestly and intensely.

Secondly, the girls are just really cool. They addressed the crowd like they would their friends, with funny anecdotes and bizarre references to the VMAs and Kanye’s “Yeezus” (2013). The band even brought a particularly excited fan (and Berklee School of Music student) on stage halfway through their set, cheering him on as he played one of his original songs for the crowd.

Finally, and most importantly, Haim is comprised of unbelievably talented musicians. It is actually hard to put into words how outrageously good each of the band members are at playing their respective instruments. Danielle, who was recruited by Julian Casablancas (of The Strokes) to play guitar and percussion for him on his solo tour, played so viscerally and with such finesse that watching her live left spectators in awe. Este, who studied ethnomusicology at University of California, Los Angeles, is a prodigy on the bass guitar. She showcased amazing technical talent, as well as ridiculous impromptu riffs. And Alana got the crowd heated with smooth control of the synth and powerful rhythm guitar.

In a refreshing way, Haim has no shame or reservations about being a girl band. The girls seem to know who they are but do not limit themselves in who they choose to emulate and what audiences they intend to reach. Their only concern seems to be making great music, and this allows them to shed the prejudices and preconceived notions that sometimes surround girl groups. Hopefully, Haim will help usher in a new era of indie bands when their first album, “Days Are Gone,” drops on Sept. 30 — an era devoid of gimmicks or fads.

Haim is an amazing example for other budding bands, showing them that it is cool to simply produce fantastic music. Whether the members of Haim are rising stars with a bright futures is not up for debate — if you’re looking for the next big thing, you’ve just found it.

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