Why this gig?
When HAIM were announced as the BBC Sound of 2013 I saw a couple of videos of them in action and decided that they were the sort of band I should really see live. They’ve played in London a few times this year, but the dates always clashed with other gigs that I already had tickets for. This was the first show that I managed to get to. Of course, over the last year they’ve had a couple of hit singles and now everyone knows who they are.
Two support acts. Childhood were a pretty standard-sounding indie boy band, but Saint Raymond had a bit more too them. They sounded a bit like a male version of HAIM. I bet we hear more about them in the future.
It’s only eighteen months since HAIM’s first gigs in London, but they’ve come a long way in that time. You can tell from the start that they are determined to use their new-found fame (and, presumably, money) to give the fans a good show. Bright light towers pick out the drum rhythm as they take the stage and launch straight into “Falling”, one of their best-known songs. This is followed by their biggest hit (so far), “The Wire”. At this point I’m worried that they might have front-loaded the gig with crowd-pleasers a little too much, but it just gets better as they launch into a phenomenal cover version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well” – the only song they play that isn’t from their debut album.
I’ve listened to their album and few times and really enjoyed it. But only now do I realise just how much of an impression it has made on me. I thought I’d only know a few songs in the set, but every song they play is instantly recognisable. Ok, I might not know all of the titles, but the tunes are familiar. This is obviously one of those albums that seeps into your consciousness without you being aware of it.
The band are on top form. They put their all into their performances. It’s clear that they love being on stage and the audience can’t help being infected by their enthusiasm. Everyone is up and dancing. I’m in the balcony – which moves rather worryingly under the weight of hundreds of swaying fans.
But after only fifty minutes, confetti cannon at either side of the stage go off and the show is over. After a brief interlude they’re back for “Running If You Call My Name” and “Let Me Go”. The latter ends with all three Haim sisters pounding out primal drum beats in an astonishing fashion.
And then it’s over. They play for about an hour. It’s slightly shorter than I would have liked, but it’s one of the most engaging hours of live music that I’ve seen for a long time.
I’ve already bought my ticket to see them in Brixton next March.
The set list is on Setlist.fm.