Live Review: Haim (Nottingham Bodega)

Photo: Simon McMurdo

Doors are late at the Bodega tonight and with no explanation  the folk are getting a little irritable. Thankfully, they’re here to see the perky, chirpy Haim sisters – three girls that could bring a smile to the face of even the most serious hipster. Word of mouth has been a blessing to these girls (with a little help from acclaim amongst bloggers and net-savvy music fans) and the amount of people here are testament to that – the crowd fill every nook and cranny of the intimate venue.

Death At Sea are the first to take to the stage and found their stride with the brooding single ‘Drag’ and it’s infectious hook, coupled with the similar feel of the haunting ‘Skinny Wrists’.  It wasn’t all mellow and tense, however, as the set closer, and highlight, ‘Sea Foam Green’ exemplified – providing enough atmosphere to sit well amongst the former tracks, but finding a crescendo in a  welcome bit of optimism that had crept up in a few of the choruses on offer in their set.

Haim’s entrances were greeted with deafening screams whilst, failing to lose their cool, they picked up their instruments and began a flawless rendition of their EP track ‘Better Off’, proving from the off that their incredible vocal harmonies are in tact. Lead vocalist Danielle boasts a familiar and warm voice, a little deeper than you’d expect from the petite performer but with every word, she commands the audience with ease.

Photo: Simon McMurdo

If Danielle is the cool and collected sister, Alana is the charmingly overexcited girl and Estee combines the two as the  undoubtedly witty and outspoken member. Plenty of banter courtesy of the fiery blonde was so well received that it may have overshadowed a lesser-bands tunes, but Haim had some of their strongest songs to date under their hats for tonight’s set – ‘Falling’ in particular brought together their signature synth pop and 80’s rock into a beautifully coherent set standout.

Haim’s performance also cemented another fact – these girls are experts at knowing a single when they write one. There were many awe-inspiring moments and plenty of choruses that, given the chance on record, will confidently invade your subconscious incessantly  but it was the expertly hook-heavy upcoming release ‘Don’t Save Me’ and breakthrough smash ‘Forever’ that got the crowd moving. As Danielle flipped between a sentimental delivery and punchy adlibs with apparent ease, it is impossible to deny that these girls have every ingredient for being the next big thing in guitar-pop.

Photo: Simon McMurdo

It might take a different form than the electro sensibilities we’re used to but Haim underline the absolute core sentiment of pop and that is their unashamed fun factor. They laugh, interact and go just as crazy as the crowd and though they know when to take things a little seriously (particularly in the incredible ‘Go Slow’, a perfect example of their vocal skills, expert writing talent and inspiring musicianship), they don’t, for one second, stop letting you know that they are having the time of their lives.


Words & Photos: Simon McMurdo


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