Concert Review: Haim @ University of East Anglia

(This is the only picture I took during the whole show, right at the end when the lights went up. There was a guy directly in front of us who viewed the entire concert through the screen of his digital camera. I wonder what he intended to do with the footage afterwards, or if he would appreciate the irony of having missed most of the actual show in order to capture it. I opted to keep my camera in my pants till the end.)

I saw Haim play live on Friday night in a relatively small room that was packed to the rafters with giddy fans. Fans who’d been deprived of their musical fix for three months after the gig was postponed last year. Needless to say, it went off like bonfire night and new levels of extreme joy were reached. In case you don’t know, (and if so, check yourself before you wreck yourself) Haim are a three-piece band from California made up of sisters Danielle, Este, and Alana Haim (hence the name obvz) who sit comfortably among the greatest female-fronted rock bands of all time.

They conjure up a heady mix of Fleetwood Mac, The Bangles, and Destiny’s Child as well as some other much cooler influences but it’s really their little toe-dips into the realms of 90s cheese and dad-rock that make them such endless and unashamed fun to listen to. And they’ve seriously blown up in the 6 months since the release of their stunning, party-ready debut album, Days Are Gone, which was why it was such an enormous treat to see them play the tiny little student union at The University of East Anglia. They were a big, expensive, powerful band crammed into a little box, and they absolutely killed it.

As the hour approached, excitement ramped up in the crowd – all the pent up energy from being blue-balled three months prior had reached boiling point and you could tell, even before the lights went down, that it was going to be a really special show. When the band finally took to the stage after a teasingly prolonged intro, the audience erupted.

Haim’s set is always a very intimate, candid prospect. They just emanate this welcoming, excited charm that makes you feel like they’re playing at your house and they’re just super stoked to be there. This isn’t to say that they’re anything less than stellar to watch; indeed it’s clear that in the months of touring since the last time they graced our shores they’ve grown immeasurably in confidence and ability, and it was exhilarating to see a band of their level performing at their utmost peak.

They played all the songs you’d want them to, from the bouncy breakup anthem “The Wire” to the angry, undulating, stomp of “My Song 5” and they pulled them off flawlessly, with an added Beyoncé cover, a freestyle rap about Tinder and a four-way drum solo thrown in for good measure. It was also Este’s Birthday, and so a cake and champagne were produced from the side of the stage to the most raucous rendition of Happy Birthday these young ears have ever heard. That the party had to end was the only drawback of the night, and I’m sure that were the Haim sisters to have simply repeated their set note for note a second time no-one would have complained. It was a night where life-long, towering memories were made, and Haim proved themselves for the umpteenth time to be one of the greatest bands making music right now.

Tom Klar | @tom_klar

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