The Head and the Heart wrote their own concert review headline Friday at the Paramount. It was the first of two sold-out nights, and was a homecoming of sorts for a band that has been touring the world for much of the last year.
So when they followed the opener, “Shake,” with “Homecoming Heroes,” they were crafting the obvious headline, even if the song is a glum tale of returning war vets. That darkness is there underneath many of their songs, but rarely is it as evident as on that tune.
Most of Friday, though, was a lovefest between the packed crowd and the band, who repeatedly thanked fans for support. “Many of my friends in bands talk about how hard it is to get people to go to their hometown shows,” Josiah Johnson said. “I’m glad we started a band in the right city.”
In just three years TH&TH have gone from Ballard open mics to headlining. Some of that success is from the big radio hit “Lost in My Mind,” which earned the loudest applause Friday.
But the hometown crowd also warmly received newer material, including the title track to their latest album, “Let’s Be Still.” After that song, Charity Thielen said fans in other cities hadn’t listened to the newer tracks with as much respect.
If their concert presentation at times lacks one singular dynamic, that’s because they have a wide cache of musical weapons and singers. With three voices on most tracks, Friday’s concert was a bit like watching a championship team win a game but not knowing who should get the MVP.
Most TH&TH shows succeed because of small, subtle musical interludes of either harmony singing or instrumental flourishes. Friday had many of those, including drummer Chris Zasche’s mallets on “10,000 Weight in Gold,” Thielen’s violin on “Down in the Valley,” Jon Russell’s gorgeous singing on “Cruel,” and Kenny Hensely’s ethereal piano riff on “Sounds Like Hallelujah.”
Johnson’s singing was spot-on all night, and he even did a solo song as the first encore. He acknowledged what a fast ride it has been to stardom for the band, and said he they had insisted on local bands — including La Luz — as their openers.
“In Seattle, being a local band means something,” he said. “Not too long ago we were that local band playing up here.”
Back in the town where they started, at their biggest local headlining show, The Head and the Heart were once again that local band, but this time they were stars.