Haim @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney, Thursday 20 July 2017
Forget your watch, because after this performance, the only time that’s important is Haim time.
The stage dressings were a straight-up groovy affair, looking as if they’d been pulled from the ’70s; 10 vintage lights backlit a stage full of instruments, which nonetheless appeared effortlessly put together and uncluttered. That retro vibe setup may have had attendees expecting the three Haim sisters to strut nonchalantly out together; trust Alana, then, to scamper middle-stage with arms flailing like Kermit the Frog, breaking the ice instantly with goofy humour. The sisters opened with their newest single, Want You Back.
Being only the second Haim show since the release of the group’s latest album Something to Tell You, Sydney was graced with a performance of such fierce passion and emotion that not one body in that theatre could remain still. At a Haim show, you’re not getting the albums beat-for-beat; you’re getting raw, live talent that exceeds the restrictions of any sort of recording.
That talent is undeniable: Danielle produced guitar solos from the womanly gods themselves, frequently extending the songs into new, magical proportions. When her silky-smooth lead vocals gave way for Este and Alana’s solo verse in 2013 hit The Wire, the crowd went nuts for Alana’s (Baby Haim) cutesy vocals and Este’s (Bassface) attitude.
The set soon turned cathartic with Alana introducing My Song 5 as for all the “motherf-cking motherf-ckers you know” – along with a prompt apology to the parents in the audience. Fans scream-sang along with the lyrics, while Alana stared deep into those eyes she caught throughout the performance, finishing up by smashing the sampling pad and declaring: “That felt goooooood.”
Other standout moments included the girls’ gorgeous harmonies in Found It in Silence and the surprise inclusion of the beguiling Night So Long. Este gave an impromptu solo performance of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ I Put a Spell on You , and captained the Falling “party train” by insisting on a “fu-k-ton of dancing”; she even halted the song halfway through to give non-dancing passengers a stern talking-to. The trio then hopping aboard themselves, dancing like crazy, before shuffling off stage when it seemed they had only just begun the night.
Cue the sweet opening chords of Right Now, and with a crimson red drumkit centre stage, the encore track (already a modern classic) stretched to just short of a 10-minute performance. Put it all together, and Haim had themselves a crowd that could pass out happy until the sisters’ promised return.
Something to Tell You is out now via Universal.