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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

October 24, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Haim and Seattle love at first sight | Concert review

Haim

L.A.’s Haim sisters — Danielle, Alana and Este, from left — made their local debut Wednesday. Photo by Bella Lieberberg.

Neumos is one of the Emerald City’s bigger rooms. For many artists, headlining there might represent the peak of a career.

But Los Angeles’ Haim, which played to a sellout crowd Wednesday at the Capitol Hill club, is just getting started.

The band — multi-instrumentalist siblings Este, Danielle and Alana Haim, plus drummer Dash Hutton — has charmed mainstream audiences and KEXP types alike with its recent debut, “Days Are Gone.”

“Days” is a big-budget pop production, but anyone who pegs Haim as run-of-the-mill — or, worse, manufactured — isn’t listening hard enough. The album’s habit-forming hooks and top-shelf sonics have garnered most of the attention so far, but the group’s rock-oriented live performance really gets inside the songs, displaying remarkable musicality and presence.

Haim is a joint effort. Denim-clad guitarist Danielle, the middle child, sings the most and talks the least, while Alana, the youngest, does a bit of everything — vocals, keyboards, noodly riffs, short shorts. Bassist Este, the eldest, anchors the songs and acts as liaison to the fans, her unfiltered, stream-of-consciousness stage banter affirming success hasn’t changed these Valley girls just yet.

Still, the sisters showed Wednesday that beyond their playful façade — kooky chatter, hundred-watt smiles, synchronized hair flips — they approach songwriting and arranging with a scholarly ear.

Their hourlong set was a musical revue of sorts, hitting on everything that makes “Days” so universal — from jittery spirit-funk (opener “Falling”) and sultry synth balladry (“Go Slow”) to Motown call-and-response (“Honey & I”) and surging Prince choruses (breakup song “Don’t Save Me”).

The foursome even followed up its hit “The Wire” — a soulful Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks homage — with a showstopping cover of Fleetwood Mac’s sinewy, bluesy “Oh Well,” from 1969.

Besides diverse influences, the band’s hyper-syncopated melodies are a calling card, and Hutton, an alum of L.A.’s D.I.Y. punk scene, an ace in the hole. He can go all-out, but just as easily hold back, and his rhythmic interplay with the sisters’ occasional stand-up percussion was astute and intuitive.

Though the show marked Haim’s first-ever in Seattle, the reaction — especially from the standing-room-only all-ages section — suggested it’ll likely be the last time they play anywhere as intimate.

Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Haim, Los Angeles, Neumos

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