As a representative of LostinMyMind.com, I had the privilege of joining The Head and The Heart on the UK portion of their most recent jaunt through Europe, supporting My Morning Jacket (with a couple of headline shows interspersed). 5 shows in 6 nights in 5 different cities, each magical in its own way. Here’s my tour recap:
Wow, these guys tour hard. Watching the band on the road only affirmed for me how dedicated these six individuals, whose music we’ve all come to love, are to their craft. They gave 100% of themselves at every show, and powered through jet lag, exhaustion from the road, and occasional sound issues to offer a killer performance each night, and all without ever losing their upbeat attitudes and their willingness to connect to their fans. Multiple times, I watched Josiah, forehead dripping sweat after a heartfelt and energetic set, stop to kneel down at the side of the stage and shake the hand of a new European fan, ask them their name and thank them genuinely for coming out to see the band. It’s those kinds of moments that represent everything I love about this band.
Night 1 :: 11.3.11 :: Birmingham
My first show of the European tour. Flew in that morning from NYC. Strange experience seeing THATH as an opener after an amazing sold-out fall headlining tour back home. And what gives with these European show times!! Doors at 6, THATH at 7pm?!?! Guess I was going to have to skip the pre-show dinner for a few nights to make it on time. Small but appreciative crowd at the HMV Institute show. Was right along the rail between Kenny and Charity. Some minor sound issues during the set (I heard the band wasn’t even given time to sound check) but that did not deter them from putting on a strong short-but-sweet opening set. What a great moment being across the ocean and hearing Charity belt out “rivers til I reach you” at the end of a great version of R&R.
Setlist – Cats & Dogs, Couer d’Alene, Sounds Like Hallelujah, Ghosts, Lost in My Mind, Down in the Valley, Rivers & Roads.
Night 2 :: 11.5.11 :: Leeds
And I thought N1 was a strong set. After a day off to rest up, get over our jet lag and tool around Leeds, the band really came to play at O2 Academy in Leeds. Standing with some new English friends in my usual spot on Stage Left, I was excited to see that quite a few people at the show knew the words and were singing along. Tyler was on fire and the band really fed off his energy. Big powerful versions of C&D->Couer and Ghosts were highlights. Also nice to see some of the band members hanging in the crowd and soaking it all in during the My Morning Jacket set.
Setlist – Cats & Dogs, Couer d’Alene, Ghosts, Lost in My Mind, Down in the Valley, Sounds Like Hallelujah, Rivers & Roads.
Night 3 :: 11.6.11 :: Manchester
Almost missed this show due to some commitments in Liverpool. Darn glad I didn’t. Venue was switched from the 1500-person Academy1 to the more intimate 700-person Academy2. Room was packed by the time THATH took the stage, with me again up along the rail giving some love to the keys and violin. Met a whole bunch of the band’s long-time fans standing nearby including one girl with an awesome tattoo, reading “Lord have mercy on my rough and rowdy ways”. Jealous!!
Another powerful set following the energy of the Leeds show. Explosive version of Lost in My Mind fueled by Chris’s poppin’ bassline. Strongest of the tour, IMO. And another big R&R set-closer. Band won over the whole crowd and everyone was dancing by the end of the set. Well worth the train ride to Manchester.
Setlist – Cats & Dogs, Couer d’Alene, Ghosts, Sounds Like Hallelujah, Lost in My Mind, Down in the Valley, Rivers & Roads.
Night 4 :: 11.7.11 :: London
This was a special night. London’s The Roundhouse holds about 3,300 people, making it the biggest show of the European tour. And MANY fans were there just to see THATH. The crowd was packed up front, there were more than a few THATH t-shirts, and everyone was pumped. A beautiful venue with great acoustics in the great city of London made for a perfect setting. And the band did not disappoint. Strongest C&D->Couer (“woof woof, meow”) of the tour kicked off a wailin’ set from beginning to end. Charity, inspired in the moment, climbed the vocal ladder to hit a whole bunch of new notes in R&R and my personal highlight was the European debut of “Sally”. Amazingly, I wasn’t the only one who already knew all the song’s lyrics.
Later, during the My Morning Jacket set, a fire alarm scare caused evacuation of the whole venue for half hour into the parking lot where we all just hung around the tour buses, drank wine, and made new friends. Only in Europe. Late-night partying in London did not disappoint (KH, JJ, KZ, BM, and KC, you know who you are!!). If only I hadn’t spilled the minestrone soup…
Setlist – Cats & Dogs, Couer d’Alene, Ghosts, Lost in My Mind, Sally, Down in the Valley, Rivers & Roads.
Night 5 :: 11.8.11 :: Bexhill-on-Sea
My final night of the tour. Tough to leave after such a great week with this remarkable bunch of people. Bexhill is a little resort town on the south coast of England, right on the sea. Strangely reminds me of Coney Island. Show was at a pavilion on the beach which also happened to be showing an Andy Warhol exhibit at the same time. Love it! Crowd was a bit older and more formal than all the previous shows, and despite the packed venue, they left a space of about 10 feet between them and the stage. Plenty of room for me to dance!! For my last show, I decided to experience things from a different perspective and so I hung out along the rail between Josiah and Jon. Surrounded by the empty feet of space, despite the hundreds of people behind me, I felt like I was getting a private THATH show as my own sort of personal farewell.
The set itself was excellent. Longer than all the previous opening slots, the band played through the entire album. And the crowd stood in silent admiration, soaking up each note (you could hear a pin drop during the songs), and then burst into raucous applause when each song finished. Jon bantered with the crowd between songs, laughing and musing about the similarities between Bexhill and Seattle, his “old man socks” and the space in front of the stage. Highlights were Kenny’s beautiful guitar playing on Winter Song, a beautiful version of Heaven Go Easy led by Josiah’s powerful vocals, and of course R&R to end the tour for me on that always-perfect note. “Rivers til I reach you…”
Setlist – Cats & Dogs, Couer d’Alene, Ghosts, Honey Come Home, Heaven Go Easy on Me, Lost in My Mind, Winter Song, Sounds Like Hallelujah, Down in the Valley, Rivers & Roads.
Very special thanks to Josiah, Jon, Charity, Kenny, Tyler, Chris, Jake, and Brother Jerry for inviting me along and sharing with me a truly memorable and magical week. Looking forward to many more tours in the future! The rising star of The Head and The Heart is only going in one direction… and that’s UP. Europe, it was a blast. See y’all again soon. Or as they say… “Cheers mate”.