Haim / The Bodega – 16th November 2012

Friday the 16th of November 2012, saw Mojo20 return to the Bodega Social Club in Nottingham to witness another live performance, by another new, up and coming act that since the release of their debut EP ‘Forever’, we’ve followed and adored. With expectations high, we joined the rest of the crowd and pushed to the front to see whether this band could back up their promising beginning, by being just as good on stage as they are on the EP.

The presence of the three girls from Los Angeles is a mixture of overwhelming, yet comforting joy. Looking like the girls next door, they lure you into a false sense of security that they may be sweet California girls, when the truth is, they’re gritty and confident, and extremely good at what they do. This attribute is highlighted more so by their choice of entrance music, ‘Clique’ by Kanye West, Jay-Z & Big Sean.

Este Haim, the bass players facial expressions alone, tell you, that they’re in charge, and you can like it, hate it or love it. They take to the stage and grab their instruments with intention, conviction, and power into the first song of the night. Instantly it’s clear how tight they are as a family (Este, Alana & Danielle are sisters). Without a note out-of-place, vocally and musically, they proceed through track one from the EP ‘Better off’. The perfect beginning to the set as the song showcases their talent and versatility. Kicking off with sweet, soft harmonies, then the driving drum beat begins, working its way towards the introduction to Danielle’s incredible skills on the guitar. The riff at the end of the first verse is bluesy and reverb heavy, and while adding so much to the track on the recorded EP version, it also works brilliantly live, and creates a segue to the lift of the tempo. The song burns down to  a harmony masterclass and the girls have got us hooked, and our attention now belongs to them for the rest of the gig.

The rest of the set is a mesmerising wave of blues based riffs, california pop, and witty banter. The girls all showcase their personalities with sexually charged banter and flirting comments with members of the crowd, and the proclamation from Este that we’re all gathered in ‘Nottinghaim’ for a very special evening. ‘Go slow’ brings the tempo back down and the dancing slows considerably for four and a half beautiful minutes of resentful sentimentality. A real highlight of the set. We finally find ourselves introduced to “the song that got them there tonight”, as the girls show gratitude to their own song writing ability, before diving head first into the title track from the EP. The crowd tonight had been particularly generous with their applause, exceptional dance moves, and attention, but ‘Forever’ amps things up by a great deal, and for the entire song, every lyric was sung back to the band, and not one person was stood still. With one song left, they save their grand finale. ‘Let me go’ for the end. Their was speculation from us as to whether they’d include their huge, four-way drum solo on a small stage such as this, after we’d seen it done on videos of previous, much larger gigs and festivals. But they hadn’t disappointed all night, and didn’t appear ready to start, as they smashed away relentlessly, entrancing the whole crowd. Here’s their performance of it at this years iTunes festival;

As a live act, they are… phenomenal. There’s no other words really, and when you consider the fact, their first LP isn’t due for release until a few months into 2013, surely they can only get better, and give fans so much more to look forward to. The band left the stage and within minutes resurfaced from the dressing room, and spent the next hour or more, speaking with fans, and having pictures taken with members of the audience. Including an in-love Rob (Rob has a slight crush on bass player, Este). You’ll find a few words from him about the gig at the end.

To sum it all up; Haim are perfectly charming, they are incredible musicians, they are new, fresh and a sign of things to come. I for one expect 2013 to be the year of Haim, and if that becomes the case, they’d deserve every single bit of it. Check out the new video for their latest single, ‘Don’t Save Me’.

Rob’s bit: For me, this was building up to be much more than a gig. I somehow managed to start speaking to Este over Facebook earlier in the year after hearing ‘Forever’ and instantly taking a shine to the band. We’d been chatting now and then and a UK tour was only dreamt about at this point. Cut to this night and my excitement was high (despite feeling poorly most the day). I knew the band would be good but they surpassed this level by an enormity. Haim became my favourite gig by far and it’s going to take something really special to top it. I’m predicting it might be the next time I see them live though. Este and her sisters were delightful to talk to after the show and it was a highlight of the night when Este recognised me and spoke to me by name greeting me with a hug and in her usual flirty demeanour told me that I was sweaty but she “liked it”. Another highlight for me was singing Ellie Goulding’s ‘Anything Could Happen’ a capella with the girls after an equally excited fan started singing the chorus. Needless to say, the trio put my vocals to shame and I departed with a goodbye, a memory of a brilliant gig and a signed drumstick from Este. I know this little bit of the review is more like the plot of a failed rom-com but I think Stu summed up the vibe of the gig in his part and there’s really nothing more that can be added from myself unless you love repetition? I will use one word he used though; Haim are phenomenal.


Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music) and Robert Smith (@robertmsmith)

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