Indie folk veterans The Head and the Heart made their way to the capital’s Palace Theater on a stop supporting their latest release under Warner Bros. Records, Signs of Light, Saturday night.
In the few years that followed my first Head and the Heart experience, I noticed the band seemed more cohesive and mature. The songs were played with more passion than they usually have, and the intricately placed Signs of Light stage set-up made for a much more genuine and heartwarming performance.
In Seattle band’s smash hit “Lost in my Mind,” lead vocalist Jonathan Russell croons, “Momma once told me/You’re already home when you feel loved,” and that’s just what the concert incited in the audience: a sense of happiness, comradery and peace.
In a society that many are saying is divided, The Head and the Heart brought everyone together with a spectacular performance.
As the lights dimmed and the crowd broke out into a collective scream, fog machines whirred on and Van Halen’s “Jump” started blasting through speakers as the band took to the stage. Classic rock isn’t the first genre that comes to mind when thinking of the band, but it made for a pretty interesting introduction.
“Jump” soon segued into “Cats and Dogs” and “Coeur d’Alene,” getting the crowd on its feet and stamping along to the beat, but I couldn’t help but notice a new energy surrounding the band members. Smiles were exchanged between all of them, and Russell looked confident as ever belting out high notes like they were nothing.
They continued on, sprinkling tracks from their first two records, but relying mostly on selections from Signs of Light. One would think the band would play their most popular single later in the set, but this wasn’t the case. The band transitioned smoothly from one single to another, and as the guitar solos died down from their stand-out track “Rhythm and Blues,” they quickly picked things right back up and played the radio single and most popular song on Signs of Light, “All We Ever Knew.”
The Head and the Heart know how to rile up a crowd without the slightest interaction. They don’t need it, the band’s fun-loving attitudes on stage are enough to get every audience member on their feet. It wasn’t just the energy; it was the emotion.
Russell and Charity Thielen would harmonize and build off of each other’s energy. Every member was feeding off of someone. Whether it was Tyler Williams pounding away on his floor tom, Kenny Hensley playing a crazy solo on his piano, the band made it obvious that they were on that stage to have fun, and that attitude translated to everyone in the theater that night.
When things were beginning to wind down, a disco ball dropped from the ceiling as the band began to perform “Let’s Be Still,” serving as a climax of sorts, only to lead the audience into the perfect trifecta: “10,000 Weight in Gold,” “Sounds Like Hallelujah” and “Down in the Valley.”
The show ended with a three-song encore consisting ending with the one and only “Rivers and Roads,” a Head and the Heart staple at their shows. Nothing is like a room full of fans singing along in unison as Thielen sings her verse.
For a few hours, the Head and the Heart brought a room full of people together. People of different backgrounds and identities, together under one roof through the power of music, showing us that in this day and age, there are signs of light.
You can listen to Signs of Light below.