May 23, 2014 by Eric Birkhead
It really is a magnificent feeling walking into The Tower Theater, regardless of who’s playing or what’s going on. Under the dim firefly glow of the lights on the large sign that literally towers over the Philadelphia area of Upper Darby, entering the venue instills feelings of nostalgia and antiquity. The building’s interior continues to impress as it makes people feel like they are walking into a grand, sophisticated show akin to an opera or Broadway musical. That being said, walking into the venue May 14 to see the much anticipated rock band HAIM, my levels of excitement were off the charts already; I was ready for a great show.
HAIM’s last performance in Philly was at the highly regarded Made in America Festival. While not a headliner at the time, the subsequent release of their album “Days Are Gone” spawned an album tour across the nation. The show ended up being sold out and came down to standing-room-only tickets at the door. HAIM’s stardom has skyrocketed in the past six months. They are slated to play various concerts and festivals both nationally and internationally this summer.
For their “Days Are Gone” tour, the indie pop band Tennis opened and played a surprisingly good set. While it was my first time hearing any of their songs, most were catchy, up-beat and grabbed the attention of the audience while engaging everyone with an active stage presence. The chemistry and laid-back attitude of the band members was attributed to the lead guitarist and vocalist being a husband and wife duo. After a solid 45-minute set, the band retired for the night and the crowd eagerly awaited the appearance of the female rock trio.
After the short period of waiting that never fails to antagonize every concertgoer, the trio of sisters Alana, Danielle and Este Haim and their drummer Dash Hutton came onstage and were greeted with a roar of excitement from the crowd. After opening up with one of their hit singles, “Falling,” they took a moment to address the crowd and expressed their own exhilaration at being back in Philly, the hometown of their own mother, Donna Haim. She was in attendance as well and was very warmly received by the crowd after hearing she was a Philadelphia native.
“Ever since they went out on their own, I’ve been with them all the way, urging them to follow their dreams and do what they’re passionate about,” Donna Haim said after the show finished. I was able to talk to her for a few minutes, and she was just as excited to see her daughters perform as all the other attendees.
Throughout the entirety of the show, I was entranced by the performance of all three siblings. Their passion for music and how much they wanted to be there was obvious, translated by the effort and prowess with which they played their melodies. Danielle, the lead guitarist, performed such complicated riffs that the crowd went wild each time she had a solo moment. Alana ran back and forth on various instruments including drums and keyboard. Este stood right up next to the crowd and let it all loose slapping the bass; her face showed just how intensely the music resonated within her with each pick of her strings. The group mesmerized everyone with just how passionate they were about their music.
Some interesting highlights were the parts where the girls decided to change things up, such as Danielle taking drums to play a cover of the ever-popular Beyoncé song, “ XO.” Toward the end, all three sisters took to the drums and played a synchronized beat, which brought the crowd close to a riot. Overall, they rocked the crowd to the core with everything they did.
Eventually, the night had to come to a close. As quickly as they came, the siblings departed for their next destination, but only after giving their all to the crowd who practically adored them by the end of the night. Hopefully they’ll be back soon to create as much enthusiasm as they did this time around. Overall, it was a great show and probably the best way to kick off the summer festivals that are coming our way.