It was a cold Tuesday – because they were blasting the air conditioning – inside The Fillmore in New Orleans before Seattle band The Head and The Heart warmed the walls with indie folk magic.
Preceding the band was opening act The Moondoggies, a rock band from Washington that kicked off the event at 8 p.m with songs from their latest album “A Love Sleeps Deep” as well as other hits from later albums. The Moondoggies finished their set around 9 p.m. as the audience prepared for the main act.
The Head and The Heart came onstage around 9:15 p.m. in casual, comfortable clothes and started their surreal performance with the first singles from their new album “Living Mirage” to be released. These hits were “Honeybee,” an indie pop ballad with nostalgic chords, soulful vocals and a dreamy bridge and propulsive indie rock tune featuring full harmonies, “Missed Connection."
“It’s always a pleasure to be in this city,” lead singer and main songwriter Jonathan Russell said to the crowd. “You guys have that going for you every single day. I’m not sure why I’m wearing a beanie. It’s eighty degrees outside.”
Russell is a founding member of the band, which is composed of vocalist, violinist and guitarist Charity Rose Thielen; bassist Chris Zasche; Kenny Hensley on the keyboard; drummer Tyler Williams and new member Matt Gervais on guitar and vocals. Gervaris is married to Thielen and joined the band after founding member Josiah went on hiatus.
The band performed other songs from the album including “Living Mirage,” “People Need A Melody,” “Up Against The Wall,” “Glory of Music,” “Saving Grace” and an alternate, acoustic version of “Your Mother’s Eyes.” As Thielen sang “I'm just as damaged as you are” with her impressive, fey voice, some audience members who’d never seen the band live were stunned at the record quality sound.
“I thought it was good,” public relations and political science senior Cristina Garcia said. “I’ve been following this band for a while, and I thought it’d be great to see them in concert live....That’s impressive for an artist to sing back-to-back songs without taking a break. I think they have really great vocals.”
After the band left the stage the first time, the relentless audience screamed for an encore until the band complied. The Head and The Heart came back onstage for a three-song encore. The audience was quiet and moved in unison as the intro chords of “Rivers and Roads” filled the air, the song that completed a mystical performance with vocals and guitar and violin chords that struck the heart.
If Coldplay and Florence + the Machine had a baby, The Head and The Heart would be it.