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Haim

STILL riding high on a gigantic wave of hype that crested with the release of their debut album Days Are Gone, Californian three-piece Haim kicked off their latest UK tour in Nottingham.

Hailing from our fair city, support act Saint Raymond (real name Callum Burrows) played a stream of ebullient indie-pop to a welcoming home crowd. Here won’t be the first time you see him dubbed as ‘Bastille with guitars’ – a lazy comparison, perhaps, but one that will undoubtedly help Burrows gain a legion of fans. Give it a year, and there will be crowds of muddy festival-goers singing every word back to him.

Arriving almost 25 minutes late, an air of slight impatience had descended upon the crowd. However when Haim finally arrived on stage, all was forgotten as they launched into a rollicking rendition of ‘Falling’.

The three Haim sisters – Danielle (lead guitar and vocals), Alana (rhythm guitar and vocals) and Este (bass and vocals) – made light work of pilfering the best aspects of the last few decades with a sound that’s equal parts ’70s rock, ’80s pop and ’90s R’n’B. That they blend these influences perfectly on record is interesting, but that they also do so live is remarkable.

They unleashed the rock early on in a blistering cover of Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Oh Well’. Danielle showed off her ability to work the fretboard in a series of scorching solos that laid waste to any doubts of the band’s technical skill. That, kids, is why you learn your scales.

Later on they laid down a blast of filthy R’n’B in ‘My Song 5’, with Este (famous for her gurning ‘bass-face’ which makes several appearances this evening) inviting fans to dance accordingly.

Comparisons to Fleetwood Mac are fair, but it’s not Stevie Nicks’ mid-tempo gypsy soft-rock that they nail – it’s Christine McVie’s pop sensibilities, laid bare on the feather-light ‘Honey & I’ and endlessly catchy ‘Don’t Save Me’. Danielle’s solos are also notably Lindsey Buckingham-esque.

The band returned for an encore opening with their recent cover of Beyoncé’s ‘XO’, and while a triumphant airing of album highlight ‘The Wire’ might have felt like a logical closure point, the thunderous three-part drumming of ‘Let Me Go’ ended things on a high.

One album into their career, Haim have a plethora of hits, bags of charm and undeniable talent. One more killer album, and festival headline sets surely beckon.

 

By Ben Travis

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