The Head And The Heart at Turner Hall
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Seattle-based folk-pop band The Head And The Heart’s next three performances are already sold out, so it was no surprise to see a capacity crowd for the group’s show Thursday night at Turner Hall Ballroom. The band is headlining a U.S. tour before playing a string of shows abroad this fall with My Morning Jacket. These guys are the real deal: genuine, earnest, and downright talented.
The Head And The Heart took the stage to riotous applause and dove right in to “Cats And Dogs.” Short and upbeat, it was the perfect song to get the crowd going. The band transitioned into “Coeur D’Alene” without missing a beat, melding the two songs together so well it was hard to tell exactly where one ended and the other began. The six-piece outfit was incredibly in sync from start to finish, boasting brilliant harmonies, beautiful melodies on violin and piano, and a hell of a lot of spunk. The crowd was energized and captivated throughout, dancing along and singing as many lyrics as it knew. After several foot-stompers, The Head And The Heart slowed it down with the soulful “Heaven Go Easy On Me,” and the absolutely beautiful “Seat Beside Me.” Both songs showcased the powerful vocals of Josiah Johnson, Jonathan Russell, and Charity Rose Thielen.
The crowd was soon ready for the popular “Lost In My Mind,” but what it wasn’t expecting was the entirety of openers The Get Down Stay Down and The Devil Whale to join in for the upbeat tune. Everyone grabbed an instrument, shared a microphone, and danced wildly about. Watching this scene unfold onstage, you couldn’t help but feel good.
The Head And The Heart’s hour-long set was just not enough, and Russell and Johnson emerged for an encore. Bathed in magenta spotlighting, the pair belted out “Oh Virginia” in beautiful unison, intently singing as the crowed filled the instrumental silence with stomps and claps.
The two opening acts were not as refined as the headliner, but both were just as much fun. Lead guitarist and vocalist Thao Nguyen of The Get Down Stay Down stole the spotlight with her speedy guitar licks and spastic energy. The Devil Whale had the crowd head-bobbin’ from its first song. Although none of the band’s songs really stuck, its enthusiasm definitely did.
Oh, and another thing: The group loves Milwaukee. “The first time we were in Milwaukee, a couple of people had sex on our van while I was napping inside,” Brinton Jones, lead vocalist of The Devil Whale, told the crowd. “And things have just gotten better ever since.”