Continuing their ‘Sister Sister Sister’ tour, Haim returned to the Alexandra Palace on 16thJune for a consecutive sold out show at the London venue. As pointed out by the band during their set, these London dates sold out in minutes. This is a testament to the passion of their fans and also to the mass appeal of their albums, 2013’s ‘Days Are Gone’ and 2017’s ‘Something To Tell You’.
In a week that brought the news that Haim had fired their agent after they were paid ten times less than that of a male artist who had played the same festival they had, this tour has been an opportunity to celebrate women in music. Carrying on the sisters theme, support came from rising stars Maggie Rogers and Grace Carter, both of whom delivered powerhouse performances and cemented their positions as artists to watch.
Haim began their performance with a choreographed entrance, with sisters Danielle, Alana and Este walking on stage one by one to perform a drum solo at the front of the stage. While such an introduction might seem somewhat self-indulgent in other contexts, here it kick-started a performance where each band member was able to showcase their huge musical talent in an evening of theatrics.
Following this introduction the band opened the show with ‘Falling’, the first track from their near-perfect and widely acclaimed debut album. During this opening song and throughout the rest of the set Haim were able to prove exactly why they have achieved the commercial and critical appeal that they have in the past few years: flawless harmonies, remarkable musical credentials and an ear for a perfect pop melody.
The remainder of Haim’s set was a balance of songs from each of their two albums, supported by an impressive backing band as the sisters effortlessly swapped between guitars, keyboards and drums. Despite the regular changes of lead vocals, the set worked seamlessly with no sense of the inconsistency that often comes when acts change between lead vocalists. However between every few songs, that seamlessness dissipated as the momentum of the show was brought to a halt for the band to share stories from their upbringing and their time as a band.
Middle sister Alana first shared a longwinded story about the writing of their 2017 single ‘Want You Back’, during which she recounts how her sisters were unimpressed by the song’s initial form. Teasing the crowd by playing the opening synth chord repeatedly as Este tries to share her part of the story, this sequence wore thin very quickly and brought what had been an excellent show to an awkward intermission. When the band finally did play the song all frustrations disappeared, as it is truly impossible to stay irritated while listening to such joyous and well-crafted pop songs that Haim excel in.
While ‘Something To Tell You’ might not have been a huge artistic leap forward following the four year gap since their debut, that matters very little when considering a live context. Even as a detractor of their second album, it was hugely enjoyable to hear songs from each album interchangeably.
Finishing the main set with career highpoint ‘The Wire’, Haim left the stage before appearing in the middle of the audience for ‘Night So Long’. Finishing with two tracks from their second album, Haim brought to a close what had been a fantastic performance, complete with the crowd-pleasing singles, guitar and drum solos, choreographed dance routines, and, for better or worse, sibling rivalry.
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