House of Blues Boston hosted trio of Los Angeles sisters Haim and their openers, married Denver duo Tennis, for a night of dancing and feel-good summer celebration. Tennis proved a lively opener, with Alaina Moore on keyboard and vocals and her husband Patrick Riley on guitar. Red velvet curtains draped dramatically behind the duo accompanied by drummer James Barone, dressed all in black and white. “We’re Tennis! And we’re so happy to be here!” shouted Moore before displaying an amazing voice for “Origins” off their second album, Young and Old.
The duo’s romantic lo-fi sound had the crowd swaying back and forth with Moore’s smooth, emotionally charged vocals, bouncing keyboard keys and Riley’s Hawaiian guitar plucks. Doo-wop and punk vocals with occasional electric riffs created unique, cheery and danceable tunes Moore played around with the crowd, measuring applause to see if we were Team Solange or Team Jay Z. “I guess we’re Team Solange!” she laughed, before their last song of the night, “It All Feels the Same.” She serenaded into a catchy pop finish before introducing the headliners.
The darkened venue bustled in anticipation, cheering wildly as the backdrop of three empty white beach chairs on a beach rose high behind the drumset. Whistles and cheers swelled the venue as three shadowy figures took the stage while a deep bass drum pulsed through eardrums and a few gold lights pulsed with the bass. And with a Michael Jackson vocal hiccup, Danielle Haim stood center stage, long dark locks flowing, for the feathery-timbred tenor intro to “Falling.” The three sisters stood in a row; the youngest, Alana on keyboard and drums, Danielle center on guitar and Este on bass. Danielle shined through an impressive solo, head and hair thrown back, eyes closed, as she ripped up and down the neck of her guitar. She and Este raised their guitars high as everyone clapped along, ending in a dramatic sigh before the stage went dark and the crowd erupted in cheers. They then slowed it down for the slow drum intro of “If I Could Change Your Mind,” which quickly built speed as they jerked their heads along to the groove and wobbled their vocals.
Blonde-haired wild child Este warmed up the crowd for the night in a hilarious interlude. “How the fuck are we feeling tonight Boston Massachussetts?! You guys fucking dressed up and I’m excited about it. Everyone looks sexy as fuck. Last time we were here it was October when school started and now school is fucking ending! I want the collective House of Blues Boston to come take a trip with me. We’re going to fly over the USA to Los Angeles where I’m from. I’m inviting you all to my living room for a jam sesh at our house. Me and my sisters, we love to jam. P,B, and J. People, bass guitars and jam.” Danielle quipped, “Wow, wasn’t sure where you were goin’ with that one. Nice.” Este bantered back, “Yeah, that was off the top of the noodle. We’re all sitting in my fucking living room and shit’s gonna get emotional, guys. We’re gonna hold hands and shit and we’re gonna jam.”
Danielle ripped open Fleetwood Mac cover, “Oh Well,” with a searing electric guitar riff that burned into Alana’s flailing arms slamming down on her drum. Alana ran around the stage in jean cutoffs and a baggy T-shirt, long thick mane flying as her sisters jammed hard on the guitars. She returned to the mic, grasping it close and peering around, singing in a rasp, “Now when I talk to God I know he’d understand…” She finished out the verse whispering, “I just might not give the answer that you want me to” as the music quieted down and then crescendoed through flashing red lights.
Darkness enveloped the stage as the crowd went wild. One of the sister’s voice emerged from the darkness, proclaiming “Love you too, girl” at a screaming fan. The lights slowly began to rise, creating three lithe shadow figures in the haze, slowly emerging from the smoke in the ’80s shimmering percussion and riffing of “Honey and I,” full of blazing guitar solos and, of course, accompanying hair flips. Clapping from the audience accompanied Danielle’s solo, lights flickering as she slowly raised the guitar high in the air, finishing out the solo in true rock star fashion. All three disappeared once again in the haze of the back of the stage before emerging in unison for the firey finish.
An eerie violet light enveloped the stage, which saw a blue spotlight on Este for the intro to “Days Are Gone.” Picking up the pace, the whole place grooved along with the trio’s jerks and body rolls.
Este took the mic once again, with a rough edge to her sweet voice, and declared, “Okay, Boston. This is my favorite song of the set because people fucking move their bodies to this song. I’m gonna fucking move my fucking body and shake my fucking ass and you are too. Can you do that for me, Boston? Here we go!” and the head slamming intro to R&B beat accompanied by breathless, dreamy stuttering vocals and electric guitar for the amazingly danceable “My Song 5.” The girls took turns sweetly singing, “Honey, I’m not your honey pie” before slamming their heads with guitars screeching. “Alright, guys,” Alana interjected, “I’m pleased to report you guys successfully knocked over our entire merch booth. The timber effect happened during that song. Thank you guys, that was fucking rad. That was in the red, you guys, in the fucking red!”
But then she brought it down a notch by introducing her favorite song from Days Are Gone, “Running If You Call My Name.” Alana’s voice shook and stuttered beautifully as her sisters joined in harmony and the front of the crowd grasped at Haim, the perfect blend of sweet harmony and bad ass rock.
Danielle took the mic to introduce her personal favorite. “Now we can actually party, guys. Since it’s Tuesday you know what that means…we’re all going to rage on this one.” A funky drum slammed for romantic disco tune, “Don’t Save Me.” In unison, they raised their right hands and slammed down on their guitars and drum, keeping rhythm as their vocals hopped lightly around the jam, carrying melody and spinning off into shrieks and sighs for a Michael Jackson-esque dance tune. Danielle announced, “Okay, y’all. I’ve partied in Boston extensively and I want you guys to get lit on a Tuesday.” Este chimed in, “It’s actually ‘get turnt on a Tuesday’.” Laughing with the crowd, Danielle responds, “You’re right, we’re gonna get turnt on a Tuesday guys“ before crowd favorite, “Forever.” The multi-talented girls took turns having fun with vocal stylings, softly fluttering and deeply serenading, backing off as each performed impressive solos. Haim concluded by disappeared into a haze, only to emerge from the smoke for the last harmonizing groove.
A lull in the set drove the crowds to chant “We want Haim!” before the percussion built and a single spotlight revealed Danielle on the drum set as her sisters slowly came forth for a cover of Beyonce’s “XO.” Este sang the angelic “oohs” and “ahhs” of the hit, crooning and showing love for her sisters as well as drummer Dash Hutton.
Haim brought the house to its knees for smash hit “The Wire.” Each sister displayed harsh and beautiful vocals that give them their ethereal edginess. Hands shot straight in the air for the building clap of the chorus. Danielle thanked the crowd and Tennis through the applause.
Red lights flooded the stage as Este’s haunting voice sang the first lyrics to final song, “Let Me Go.” The girls joined her with Alana’s drumstick raised high and falling while she danced and quickened her beat. With graceful limbs, swaying hips and combat boots, Alana danced around the stage. Este passionately grasped at her crazed blonde locks while Danielle burst forth in guitar solos that refuse to quit. All three girls ended the set in a rapid fire tribal drum jam session, slamming down like three warriors in a row. The phenomenal performance of “Let Me Go” closed the curtains on the high energy show of the at once feminine and badass Haim.
If I Could Change Your Mind
Oh, Well (Fleetwood Mac cover)
Honey and I
Days Are Gone
My Song 5
Running If You Call My Name
Don’t Save Me
XO (Beyonce cover)
Let Me Go