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The Head and the Heart Play The Anthem

Energy was high last Friday night as The Head and the Heart (THATH) took the stage for one of the last shows on their fall tour. The indie-folk rockers played The Anthem, and played it well.

Before he plucked the first notes on his guitar strings, Jonathan Russell’s rose-colored glasses glinted with the crowd’s excitement. The band opened with two songs from 2016’s Signs of Light, to which the audience immediately began clapping and wooting.

Indeed, THATH definitely showed more signs of light than of the troubles the band has suffered together over the past year with co-founder Josiah Johnson on a health-related hiatus. Matt Gervais (husband to vocalist/violinist Charity Rose Thielen) performed as an excellent stand-in; his chemistry with Russell and the rest of band was palpable.

It was impressive to see THATH hold the floor of The Anthem – though the 6,000 head venue was not at capacity, the crowd was clearly one of adoring fans. Even the line “Just for a moment/let’s be still” couldn’t quiet the buzz.

Solid performance aside, the setlist, too, was well-constructed, with a no doubt carefully selected and very satisfying mix of favorites from the band’s first two albums (those that made said fans fall in love with THATH to begin with) to complement tracks from Signs of Light.

An unexpected highlight came about halfway through the set with a cover of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” during which – assisted also by the neon stage lights – we all took a trip back to 1986. The main set closed out with oldie-but-goodie, “Down in the Valley.”

Perhaps the only noticeable thing missing from the show was Thielen’s voice. While she bowed the shit out of the violin per usual, her vocal presence was not on par – until the very end of the encore, for (of course) everyone’s favorite, “Rivers and Roads.” Still though, a great show – I wouldn’t be mad if THATH came back through soon. 

Photos and review: Courtney Sexton