Haim live at The Academy Dublin Friday 13th of December 2013 | Review

There was a sense of perfect symmetry in the air as Haim concluded their European tour in Dublin where it started in May this year. A jump in venue size from Whelan’s to The Academy with another show in The Olympia in March already pencilled in illustrates how quickly Haim have grown in popularity in such a short space of time.

Tonight’s performance proves this popularity more than justified as the Haim sisters wow The Academy with a boisterous, fun-filled set of material from their debut album ‘Days Are Gone’ steeped in classic rock riffs, sun-kissed harmonies and bass grooves.

Haim’s drummer and touring keyboardist take to the stage creating an atmosphere with a simple slow beat before the Haim sisters take the stage to rapturous applause. The first syllable of Falling cues up an instant sing-along vibe which continues throughout the entire performance. It doesn’t take long for Este Haim’s infamous bass face to make an appearance as the talented bassist struts around the stage with her head pecking like a hen and her hair flying wildly.

Hit single The Wire passes lead vocals between the three sisters giving the crowd ample opportunity to cheer as each sister takes the lead, not that they need an excuse to clap. Each sister proves herself more than capable at taking lead vocals, but the largest cheer is reserved for Este.

Haim are often compared to Fleetwood Mac and embrace this comparison with a high octane version of Oh Well in which each sister proves the high standard of musicianship they hold while making classic rock riffs older than themselves sound fresh.

A raucous rendition of happy birthday fills the Academy once Alana Haim lets slip it is her birthday during the lead into Honey & I which displays the influence of Fleetwood Mac and the Who upon their own songwriting. Whilst songs like My Song 5 display a distinctly modern R ’n’ B approach to songwriting with a hint of Fiona Apple thrown in.

Haim shouldn’t be viewed as a girl band writing songs for girls though. The material stands on its own merit. Haim are not a good girl band, they are a good band. Those intricate basslines and guitar solos don’t write or play themselves you know. Haim write believable classic rock riffs making them sound current and believable in a manner most male groups have failed to do over the last 15 years or so.

They also possess a true force of nature in the guise of bassist Este whose onstage presence is electric. Her between-song banter is hilarious in the finest rock and roll tradition “If you want me to slap your bass you’ve got to wine and dine me first” being a choice example of her witty asides from this evening. She also proves herself to be quite the drummer on an extended version of Let Me Go during the encore. Somebody should tell Lars Ulrich he’s been demoted again.

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Photos: Kieran Frost