Confession: The Head and the Heart (Literally) Gave Us Chills

The Head and the Heart

With Lost in the Trees

Fillmore Miami Beach

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Better Than: Worrying all night about whether we should've worn our Lil Bub tee.

The whole folkie Americana indie fad of the moment (e.g. Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) has gotten a lot of shit from the cool-as-fuck cynics and music critics.

You know, 'cause pretty tunes made with guitars, drums, pianos, fiddles, tambourines, and maracas are just too unironically quaint to be relevant in any way to our Internet-driven, meme-addled, molly-popping, furniture-twerking, perpetually LOLing 21st-century existences.

Ostensibly, the Head and the Heart can be counted among those folkie Americana indie types. But screw our social media rankings ... A confession: The Seattle sextet (literally) gave us chills at the Fillmore Miami Beach last night.

See also: Head and the Heart on the Future of Americana and Why EDM Isn't "the Be-All, End-All"

The evening began quite sweetly (though unabsorbingly) with openers Lost in the Trees, who bashfully introduced themselves as "a band from North Carolina" doing "our very first night with the Head and the Heart on this stretch of the tour."

They played a half hour's worth of ethereal indie ballads, blissed-out rock jams, and cinematic emotional soundscapes. They were nice, friendly, and maybe a tad nervous.

So yeah, they seemed like "a band from North Carolina" doing their "very first night with the Head and the Heart on this stretch of the tour."

H&H, though, were the total opposite of underwhelming.

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As an outfit that rocks so softly on record, it wouldn't have been surprising for the six-piece to twee its way through the 15-song setlist. (Especially since the Miami crowd was so modestly sized; approximately a third of the Fillmore's maximum capacity.)

But it turns out that the Head and the Heart just might be the hardest-rocking folkie Americana indie crew alive.

Without sacrificing any of their songs' nuance or intimacy, singers Josiah Johnson, Jonathan Russell, and Charity Rose Thielen sang as loudly as their vocal chords would allow. There was also much swapping of instruments, trading of smiles, tambourine freakouts, whirling dances, and full-throated, off-mic drummer sing-alongs.

Basically, H&H exuded an extra-enthusiastic freewheeling vibe that might've induced giggles in the average OMFGICBTFHHAHA (Oh, my fucking god, I can't believe these fucking hippies, haha) sort of asshole. Like that bored bro who got dragged to last night's show by his girlfriend and mockingly cooed, "Oooh, oooh, oooooooooohhhh."

But you know what ... Fuck that dude.

See also: Miami's Ten Best Live Music Venues

Not everything's gotta be a trending topic. Or an NSFW concept album about loneliness in the age of the Internet. Or so meta that it's impossible to tell whether the motherfucker in the mask who made the record actually means anything ever.

It was endearing to see H&H drummer Tyler Williams get so dorkishly engrossed in the good feelings that he just couldn't stop himself from jumping all over like human popcorn while playing sans sticks, beating his kit with a tambourine and maraca.

That's called real emotion, bro.

"I think this is working out well," singer Josiah confided in the crowd, flirtatiously, during an aside, before asking: "Are you having fun too?"

The fans replied with shouts, whistles, and sincere "Oooh, oooh, oooooooooohhhh"-ing.

"Oh, OK. Cool," he teasingly . "'Cause the band is definitely having a good time. And I thought we were all on the same page. But just figured I'd be sure, not presumptuous."

Now, admittedly, even though we here at Crossfade weren't chortling and rolling our eyes like bored bro, we also weren't hopelessly rapt with all-consuming affection and overflowing sentiment.

We were simply having a nice and warm and joyous and pleasant night, from "Summertime" through "Let's Be Still," "Lost in My Mind," and "Sounds Like Hallelujah." But then it happened ... The tingles.

It was the last song, "Rivers and Roads." The room darkened to a dusky dimness. And the Head and the Heart harmonized through a few minutes of bittersweet musings, such as "nothin' is as it has been," while puncutating it all with some beautiful "Oooh, oooh, oooooooooohhhh"-ing.

But when H&H's requiem for love and life finally reached its crescendo, the band went silent. There was a moment of pure stillness. And then Charity Rose let loose a "Ri-i-ivers and rooooooooooads/Oh, rivers a-a-and roads/Rivers till I reach yoooooooooou" that was laced with deep, honest longing and profound sorrow at the impermanence of everything human.

That's when we (literally) got chills. And no, bro, we don't mean the kind that end in a Z.

Critic's Notebook

Full Disclosure: We've also started (literally) crying during TV commercials. So maybe our susceptibility to the sweet, sometimes sentimental strains of H&H is merely a symptom of deep-seated, currently surfacing emotional issues. Who knows.

Head and the Heart's Setlist:



-"Homecoming Heroes"

-"Coeur D'Alene"



-"Let's Be Still"

-"Lost in My Mind"

-"Another Story"

-"Winter Song"

-"10,000 Weight in Gold"


-"Sounds Like Hallelujah"

-"Rivers and Roads"



-"My Friends"

-"Down in the Valley"

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