“Boston, let’s f—ing rage,” Alana Haim ordered the sold-out crowd at the Paradise Rock Club as L.A. sister trio Haim kicked off their North American tour in support of their recently released album, Days Are Gone. After spending much of the summer on the European festival circuit, the band, composed of Este (bass), Alana (rhythm guitar, keyboards, and percussion), Danielle (lead guitar and lead vocals) and Dash Hutton (drums) seemed at home back in the states. Minutes into the set, oldest sister Este announced that the Sept. 1 Boston date served as their first-ever headlining show outside of Los Angeles.
Since the release of their first EP entitled “Forever,” the sisters Haim have become the darlings of the indie pop genre, garnering strong praise from both critics and a wide group of artists that includes Jay-Z and Vampire Weekend. As such, fans lined up at the Paradise hours before doors opened, hoping to snag a coveted spot close to the stage.
When the venue finally opened, the crowd, composed mainly of girls ages 15-22 and the occasional well-dressed male, was greeted by the musical stylings of Ioanna Gika and band, better known as IO Echo. Although IO Echo’s 30-minute set was not short on energy, Gika perplexed concertgoers with her bizarre behavior and interactions with her accompanying band, particularly when she crawled between her male guitar player’s legs mid-song.
At around 9:30, the crowd roared as Haim took the stage to the Cyndi Lauper hit “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” And fun they did have. From there, the girls (and guy) powered through a nine-song set that included tracks off their previous EPs and a few new tunes.
After starting things off with “Better Off,” the band gave a rousing rendition of current single “The Wire,” a song that showcases the vocals of all three sisters. The highlight of the set, however, came when the band soared through “Go Slow,” a Fleetwood Mac cover which serves as somewhat of an impromptu jam session and straight into “Don’t Save Me,” a mellower number about relationships gone sour.
Throughout the night, it was easy to see that Haim is a young band with a lot of spunk and little experience. The girls took time to interact with the crowd and, although the stage banter between Este and Alana felt a little forced and awkward at times, it was well received by the screaming fans in the small venue. Stage presence is something that is learned over time and the band’s will only get better as they play more and more shows on their somewhat meteoric rise that is sure to come with the release of their LP.
All in all, the sisters proved that not only could they rock out just as hard, if not harder, than the boys, but that they could do it in floral dresses and red lipstick, too.
Days Are Gone is out now on Columbia Records.