Saturday, November 16, 2013
Concert review: The Head and the Heart prompted heartfelt singalongs at South Side Ballroom
After three years of constant touring, the band shows no signs of slowing down.
Openers The Quiet Life and The Eastern Sea prepped the crowd -- a mix of Millenials and some of their children -- for the headliner. The Quiet Life introduced a mix of honky tonk and folk before The Eastern Sea took over with its Local Natives-like dynamic. Music enthusiasts were treated to new songs from the latter as the venue gradually filled in.
The Head and the Heart is currently touring in support of its October release, Let’s Be Still, a sophomore follow-up to 2011’s self-titled debut. While Let’s Be still has several upbeat tracks, the high points of Friday’s concert came during singalongs to beloved tracks from the band’s first release.
This must have been a pattern, as The Head and the Heart started the night off with its front-running single from the new record, “Shake.” It was a strong kickoff, after which the band weaved old songs in with the new, though an untrained ear wouldn’t have noticed.
Since The Head and the Heart took a year between releases, each track sounded authentic yet fresh – it’s obvious its creative well isn’t drying up. Songs like the lamentingly beautiful “Josh McBride” would be at home on The Head and the Heart as much as 2011’s “Winter Song” could nestled between “Springtime” and “Summertime” on Let’s Be Still.
If consistency is the key to indie success, then The Head and the Heart has it made. The six-piece is notorious for having toured constantly for the last three years, but if they are wearying it doesn’t show. Vocalists Josiah Johnson, Jonathan Russell and Charity Rose Thielen powerfully hit every note without breaking a sweat. Instrumentation by Thielen on violin, Tyler Williams on drums, Kenny Hensley on piano and Chris Zasche on bass was near flawless. The performance was almost not candid enough.
But yet, the band members’ personalities shined through. They are a band of old souls whose grandeur was able to captivate South Side Ballroom during songs like “Let’s Be Still,” causing the entire room to fall silent.
The Head and the Heart saved favorites like “Honey Come Home” and “Rivers and Roads” from its debut album for the encore, which had die-hard fans hanging on every lyric.
The stage setup, or more appropriately lack thereof, was the only disappointing aspect of the show. During their last tour through Dallas in 2012, The Head and the Heart hit Granada Theater where the stage was covered in fake foliage and hanging lamps as though the band was playing in an outdoor courtyard. It was more fitting than the warehouse vibe at South Side, but perhaps the point was to eliminate distraction and spotlight the music.
Judging by the roars of applause after each song, even during lulls within each track, The Head and the Heart’s effort was not lost.