HAIM: Live In Nottingham – Review by EJ Scanlan
LA family rock band HAIM have really broken out over the last ten years, releasing three strong records, collaborating with Taylor Swift, and guitarist Alana Haim has even had OSCAR buzz for her performance in the award-winning film, “Liquorice Pizza”. But tonight, two years after it was first announced, the band are finally performing at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena.
Tonight, I get to see the three sisters perform live for the first time, and I’m beyond excited! I expect to see some excellent band chemistry, especially because they’re sisters, I want a celebration of the band’s full discography, but I know one thing – this is going to be FUN!
Despite the day of the event being the hottest day on record in the UK with heights reaching 39°c, a full-capacity crowd witnessed HAIM’s show tonight, and it was probably one of the greatest shows I’ve seen all year. The band’s chemistry was impeccably strong and provided us with some of the slickest instrumentation I’ve maybe ever seen in a live show. This may be because they’re siblings, it may be because of practice but either way, these guys have some sensational chemistry and showed a real passion for their work, their music and their overall show, and that was incredibly joyous to watch. Even the band’s scripted talking sections, which for a lot of artists would come across as cringey and unnecessary, they pulled the comedy off as fun and incredibly natural, which I’ve never seen from a band before. HAIM’s interaction with the crowd, especially from Este was beautiful to watch and put a smile on my face.
The instrumentation throughout the show was critically sublime, not just from the three sisters but from the session musicians was brilliant to watch. They all blended incredibly well together and the session musicians didn’t feel like session musicians, they felt like a part of the band and part of the beautiful family, which created an atmosphere that felt incredibly beautiful and loving throughout. The vocals from the full trio were excellent. There wasn’t a single off note, everything was flawless in execution, creating near enough a perfect show.
When I did my initial research for this tour, I couldn’t help but notice that they were going to be performing their third record, “Women In Music: Part III” in full, with very few tracks from their proceeding two albums, and despite me loving HAIM’s third album, I was unsure of how they could execute this to a full show, as bands have done this before, they’ve sometimes ended up failing on some levels, however, when they played their full-length third studio album tonight, they played it with passion, execution and a sheer amount of love. Even the somewhat weaker tracks from the records were delivered in a better way than they did on record. But what I enjoyed most was how explained the reasoning for creating this album, especially when performing “Man From The Magazine”, they explained that in their first interview with a major music magazine, the cis-gendered male journalist asked Este whether the faces that she makes on stage are the same as the faces she makes in bed. When the sisters were reminiscing about the moment, they decided to make a song about it, and the performance of the track was the major highlight of the night for me. The album speaks about sexism, especially within the music scene, and the lyrical content from that song resonated with me and the other 10,000 people in attendance tonight.
The staging was simple but incredibly effective, which is what I believe the best type of stages are. The lighting design was incredible, and the set felt intimate despite it being in a 10,000-capacity arena, so the staging had full marks from me.
Overall, HAIM gave us the performance of a lifetime. Their setlist was expertly curated, with songs from the band’s older albums being the stronger tracks from those records, the band chemistry was slick, the staging was perfect and it had everything a five-star set should have. I had a personal inkling to attend the show from when it was advertised and announced two years ago, just slightly not being as familiar with their content as the vast majority of people in the arena tonight, and that was exactly why. Mercury Prize nominee Georgia supporting made it even more of a reason to attend (and yes, she was fantastic), but this was one of the best sets I’ve seen all year, and they have made a new fan for life.
Ranking: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (I’d give it way more if I could!)
- Now I’m In It (Women In Music: Pt. III)
- I Know Alone (Women In Music: Pt. III)
- Up In A Dream (Women In Music: Pt. III)
- My Song 5 (Days Are Gone)
- Want You Back (Something To Tell You)
- 3 AM (Women In Music: Pt. III)
- I’ve Been Down (Women In Music: Pt. III)
- Gasoline (Women In Music: Pt. III)
- Leaning On You (Women In Music: Pt. III)
- Hallelujah (Women In Music: Pt. III)
- Man From The Magazine (Women In Music: Pt. III)
- FUBT (Women In Music: Pt. III)
- Los Angeles (Women In Music: Pt. III)
- Don’t Wanna (Women In Music: Pt. III)
- Forever (Days Are Gone)
- Summer Girl (Women In Music: Pt. III)
- The Wire (Days Are Gone)
- The Steps (Women In Music: Pt. III)