The Head and the Heart's Charity Rose Thielen
The Head and the Heart played a sold out show at Terminal 5 last night to a jubilant crowd. I’m not sure if this band has been on the One Tree Hill soundtrack or something, but somehow they sold out this huge venue and packed it with underage kids who love really cute, let’s-hold-hands-and-dance-in-a-meadow-full-of-flowers kind of folk pop. As nausea-inducing as music like that can be, The Head and the Heart play it with such genuine glee and enthusiasm that it’s hard to not just let yourself get taken in by it. They really did redeem what up to that point had an eye-rollingly ridiculous show.
With the back and forth sensitive vocals and acoustic guitar parts of Josiah Johnson and Jonathan Russell there was never a dearth of endearingly sweet lyrics, but then throw in some violin and powerful backup vocals from Charity Rose Thielen, and you practically have a junior Arcade Fire. Thielen also lent some really refreshing lead vocals on one song, when suddenly I could actually hear the timbre of her voice to know how good it was. After her solo the entire crowd went nuts - she should really have more lead in future songs. She also had the best between song banter of the night. At one point, she remarked on how it was for them to be able to do what they loved, and just play music with friends every night. At that point, there was no way I wasn’t going to concede that that was indeed an amazing thing, and no matter how cynical I wanted to be about how flower child-like they were, by the end of their show I’ll admit that they did win a little piece of my heart. And my head was ok with that, too.
I can’t say the same for the two bands who preceded The Head and the Heart. Openers Black Girls, who are a group of mostly awkward looking white boys, could make for a great piano rock-infused broadway musical, but otherwise their theatrics were just over the top. They did had some good instrumentation, especially the lead guitarist - who I actually hope has some sort of side project. The rest of the band, however, just seemed to have a swagger they hadn’t quite earned yet.
Drew Grow and the Pastors' Wives
Drew Grow and the Pastors' Wives was the second band, and if I didn’t already think the name was silly, I was even more amused at how just about every song seemed to dramatically drag on to the point of exhaustion. There was so much yelling and musical buildup that never seemed to go anywhere. The lyrics consisted mostly of epically-sung “oh yeahs,” with little actual substance. It was almost like watching a live parody video, where the band looked like they were doing the most amazing things, but the actual sound was clunky and more filler than killer.Regardless, Drew Grow and the Pastors’ Wives are on tour with The Head and the Heart playing sold out shows all across America, and then The Head and the Heart also have dates at Coachella and Sasquatch!. Check their website for the full list of dates.