The Head and the Heart Quiet Terminal 5

March 19th, 2012

The Head and the Heart – Terminal 5 – March 18, 2012

People say, “A for effort” like it’s a bad thing, but “A for effort and A for execution” can be something very special. Take the Head and the Heart, playing a sold-out show at Terminal 5 last night. This was a band putting the effort in, starting with the stage itself, filled with small trees beneath strings of lights and Chinese lanterns like someone’s backyard had been decorated for a Sunday-afternoon garden party. Walking out to the strains of My Morning Jacket (tourmates from last fall) over the PA, the band wasted no time digging into their revelatory self-titled debut album.

While the Head and the Heart occasionally cover the morose or fully morbid—like the early “Ghosts,” as in “Someday we’ll all be,” or “Honey Come Home,” with “Just want to die with the one I love”—the Seattle sextet gave every song that little extra something. And despite the subject matter, the feeling was always one of jubilant energy, which peaked with “Lost in My Mind” midset, when every member of both opening bands joined in on vocals, clapping and percussion, rendering the band itself almost entirely redundant. The 75-minute set included several nice new songs as well, one that asked “Are you a lion?” had a tinge of a Latin feel, while “Grandfather’s Wisdom” began solo acoustic and then built into a rather epic piece.

The penultimate song of the set started with a long rumble of noise and had a big, almost orchestral majesty to it, like something out of Broken Social Scene’s repertoire. Suffice it to say, there seems to be a lot more to be heard from the Head and the Heart. The story of the night, though, was the resonance between the band and the crowd. Those in the audience somehow always knew, collectively, when to quietly listen and when to sing along full-throated, when to take out their phones to take a quick snapshot and when to just take in the music. At the softer moments, it was as quiet as I’ve ever heard Terminal 5. The band seems to have leapfrogged the usual arc, instead of saying, “I can’t believe they sold out The Bowery Ballroom,” we’re left marveling that they sold out T5, and with the ecstatic crowd yelping for more, it’s clear that the Head and the Heart have more than earned that A. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno |