Haim; Manchester Academy, March 8 2014.
I left uni early because, as usual, I simply couldn’t wait to drive down the m62 from Leeds to Manchester. I love that city. It’s so trendy. It’s beautiful. It’s full of cool places and people. I’ve always loved it, since hopping on the train from uni in Liverpool which I think was the first time I went into the city itself (before that I’d frequented the Trafford Centre but not the centre, maybe because my Dad hates, and always has hated, paying for parking). It’s stunning, and before we both got jobs we love too much to leave with roots firmly in Leeds, my girlfriend and I even seriously considered moving (back, for her) to Manchester.
But I digress.
This time we were visiting to watch Haim, Chrismas present from Dad to Samantha. Beforehand we decided to meet a friend for drinks in Big Hands.
Sam’s being frequenting this bar for years. As we walked in she told me that the first time she had been, circa 2003, she felt like she was in a film set in New York- a woman of the world with her then bestie, their sister’s ID and a curfew only dependant on the train timetable; that time she was seeing the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (she was much, much cooler than me I should point out.)
So, Big Hands. A bar with loud vinyl and band flyers on the wall. Mis-matched furniture and actual soap (not handwash) in the toilets. I didn’t instantly love it. The atmosphere was warm though and I too, soon, warmed to it. The hum of chatter grew and by 7 the outside area upstairs was heaving, with all types of people. Girls with the extra short fringe that I once tried to pull off but couldn’t, twentysomething’s, thirtysomething’s, single people, couples, it all made for a brilliant atmosphere. As an aside, it was also very reasonablly priced with a vodka and coke, white wine and a lime and soda water totting to a tiny seven quid, which is always a bonus.
We arrived at the Academy part way through the support act. Broods is definitely my kind of band; female fronted and pretty chilled. Imagine Ellie Goulding’s voice with the vibe of Daughter and you’re on your way to knowing what this group, from New Zealand, sound like. What was annoying was the vocalists slowed-down rave style dance moves that at points were extremely literal. But you wouldn’t see that on a CD. Definitely think they’re one to watch.
Haim were due on stage at 9:15 and were 20 minutes late. Not as late as when Samantha saw Babyshambles who were two hours late. The reason for the unexplained delay may not be dissimilar. Not one to over-speculate, I was toying with whether to include this point, but it didn’t take a detective to notice that Este was more than a little out of it at the beginning of the gig. Her trademark crimson lipstick only highlighted the fact that she was gurning terribly. This being said, she didn’t miss a note and the Girls were perfectly in time.
The music matched their CD almost perfectly and if girls with guitars are your thing you should definitely catch a gig. As much a Beyoncé fan as anyone else, I’m sure she won’t lose too much sleep over my saying that Haims cover of her XO outshone the original. It has to be said that Danielle, Este and Alana are phenomenol instrumentalists. Also they are fantastic show (wo)men, and although they don’t chatter between songs as much as other bands, they have a definite connection with the crowd (as long as you don’t mind hearing the word “fucking” a lot during the show.)
Since the gig we’ve relistened to Days are Gone more than a couple of times and now it’s even more impressive.
Anyway, I’d Better move along now before I start fully fangirl-ing, but you get the idea…