Haim makes hometown return

by Dominique Redfearn

A sold-out crowd filled the Santa Ana Observatory on May 17 awaiting the chance to be the first to hear new music from rock band Haim.

Their 11 song set however, consisted mostly of songs from the band’s 2013 debut album “Days Are Gone.”

The Los Angeles based act consists of sisters Este (guitar, bass and vocals), Danielle (guitar and lead vocals) and Alana Haim (keyboard, percussion and vocals).

The prolonged instrumentals to “If I Could Change Your Mind” built suspense to the moment the sisters took the stage.

The band later surprised the crowd by playing a cover of “I Would Die 4 U” by one of their biggest musical influences, Prince.

After seeing a multitude of musicians cover “Purple Rain” and only “Purple Rain” in the weeks following the pop icon’s death, Haim’s cover was a refreshing tribute.

Danielle and Alana took to playing their guitars while Este sung most of the lyrics as purple lights flashed onstage.

The sisters then joined at center stage for a synchronized guitar riff and dance toward the end of the song, clearly enjoying their time on the stage which was a reminder of why this band is so enjoyable in the first place.

Audiences can feel as if they are joining in on a jam session or one of the band’s intimate living room rehearsals.

The sometimes serious stigma surrounding the kind of rock show that they have the ability to put on vanishes the moment they walk onstage because of the positive and inclusive energy they emit.

Their signature long hair whipped back and forth as the sisters continued to follow their usual stage routine.

Este would connect with the crowd through her blunt and comedic banter in between songs, Alana pumped up the audience with her exaggerated drum strikes and Danielle captivated the crowd every strum of her guitar.

Although the lack of newer music that was debuted was slightly disappointing, what they did perform was just enough to keep fans wanting more.

Each of the new songs showed that Haim are staying close to their roots with their signature mixture of R&B and 1970s influenced soft rock.

Haim sneaked the first of two new songs, a slower tune entitled “Give Me Just A Little of Your Love,” into their set without introduction before diving into the emotional “Running If You Call My Name.”

Typically sung by Danielle, youngest sister Alana stepped away from her instruments to perform a stripped down version of the latter.

The crowd stayed until Alana stepped onto an elevated part of the stage to elicit harmonies from the crowd.

They then changed gears and went on to perform what Este introduced as a song that people could dance to, the powerhouse breakup song “My Song 5.”

“Nothing’s Wrong” was the second and final piece of new material of the night. The song wasn’t entirely kept under wraps as those who follow the band’s Twitter were able to see that the band tweeted a small set of lyrics hours before the show started.

They finished their set with “The Wire” and left the stage before returning to perform “Falling” as their encore.

Similar to their last tour, they closed with a fun, four minute long drum routine. Instead of having it tie in with “Let Me Go,” a song that was neglected inclusion from this tour’s setlist, the routine stemmed from “Falling.”

Haim was first cited to have started the process of working on their sophomore album in 2014. They have kept hush on the details of the album up until the release of a 15 second clip posted to the band’s Twitter in late March of this year.

The clip featured the band practicing in the studio with quick snippets of riffs playing alongside voiceovers of the sisters stating that they just wanted to go back on tour to perform these songs.

The trio have kept busy between albums from their appearance on “Saturday Night Live” to being featured on soundtracks for movies like “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay” and “Insurgent,” to becoming a fixture in Taylor Swift’s infamous “squad” of famous friends and subsequently getting a stint as one of the opening acts for Swift’s 1989 World Tour.

Most notably, the band was nominated in the best new artist category for the 2015 Grammys.

With their focus finally shifting to new music, Haim are set to perform at various festivals and smaller venues in the U.S. and internationally through August.