Concert Reviews

When Others Rely on Sex, Haim Relies on Talent — Which The Trio Proved at South Side Ballroom

Nothing the Haim sisters can't do.
Nothing the Haim sisters can't do. Hannah Hansen

The trio Haim proved its undeniable talent Thursday.

Sisters Este, Danielle and Alana put on an unforgettable show at South Side Ballroom.

They stood out from their opening act, Lizzo, who, accompanied with her leotard-clad dancers and DJ, gave the audience an eyeful of twerking that it was not quite ready for. Lizzo then celebrated her birthday with a cake in the shape of a butt.

That’s the thing. Once the Haim sisters went onstage, it was even more clear how much this band stands out in the sea of artists that bombard the media. Haim's show oozed woman power, and not the kind that came from showing off their bodies or flaunting sex. It was about talent. It was about music.

The show started with a spotlight on Danielle Haim with a drum beat. Then younger sister Alana appeared on her right, adding to the drum beat. Then the eldest Haim, Este, showed up on the left with her drums, completing the trio.

With the most effortless stage presence and vintage-chic clothes that have “look at this thing I got at the thrift store” vibes, the band’s cool factor couldn't be touched.

The band started with “Falling,” then proceeded to play songs like “Little of Your Love,” “Don’t Save Me” and “The Wire,” elaborated with many jaw-dropping guitar solos from Danielle, sassy looks from Alana, and Este’s iconic bass face. A particularly electric performance was "My Song 5," an offbeat-driven anthem with a guitar sound that was like an ode to old rock.

The women’s personalities and their sister dynamic also proved entertaining. Impressed with the level of high-energy audience involvement, Alana gasped at the end of a song, screaming, “You guys can’t do this to me! It just blows my mind that my sisters and I wrote this in our living room, and now you guys are singing it!”

? "It just blows my mind that my sisters and I wrote this in our living room, and now you guys are singing it!” – Alana Haim click to tweet
With the sisters switching among their many instruments, there were several breaks between songs. During those breaks, Alana proved to be the designated spokesperson of the band, with the occasional sarcastic comedy relief from Este.

“I could talk to you guys all night,” Alana said while trading her drumsticks for an electric guitar. “I forgot I need to play a song.”

“Alana likes to flirt,” Este said, letting everyone know that Alana is the only single Haim.

When things started to get a little bit real, humor always broke it up. After one of the songs, Este snacked on a Snickers bar. She explained that her doctor had told her not to tour, but she didn’t listen. She was eating the Snickers bar to increase her low blood sugar levels because she has Type A diabetes. A fan yelled out, “You have Type A diabetes, too?" "We’re diabuddies," Este responded.

Este explained that her determination is fueled by how much she loves what she does. And that was evident in the raw passion she and her sisters showed.

Alana and Este did most of the talking, but Danielle, the introvert of the group, excelled in her own right. Halfway through the set, she put down her guitar to play the drums and left some in the audience with their jaws hanging.

The other great thing about Haim is that a diverse group of fans enjoys their unique style. Everyone from little girls to big bearded men to nerdy kids to cool kids — and everyone in between — seemed to connect to the music. Not only have the sisters proved themselves as songwriters on their albums, they've shown themselves as live vocalists and talented musicians.

The each woman brought her powerful talent to stage, but they also supported one another in a way only sisters could. After an incredible show, a packed South Side Ballroom enthusiastically called the women back onstage. They played “Found It in Silence” and ended the night with “Right Now,” topping it off with the three women on what looked like a 20-piece drum set, putting their obviously inherent musical talent on loud display. And with the last big bang, a flood of white confetti was released into the audience, ending the night and leaving the crowd buzzed with the magic of whatever runs through those Haim veins.
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Isabel Arcellana has been writing for the Observer since spring 2018 and has been creating fake newspapers for her mom since she was 8. She graduated from SMU with a double major in journalism and fashion media. Her five guitars are named after High School Musical characters.