With Shy Girls
Fillmore Miami Beach
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Better Than: The musical skills of any other teeny bopper groups.
Haim (pronounced unlike late-1980s teen dreamboat Cory and more like the last four letters of Hebrew toast l'chaim or the first four letters of Spanish name Jaime) have drawn comparisons in the music press to Fleetwood Mac. But from the family band's very first song, "Falling," at the Fillmore Miami Beach, it was hard to hear many similarities, beyond the shared Southern California origin and an attempt at covering "Oh Well."
There were no shared harmonies, nor lovelorn crooning, but rather vocal tics that recalled Michael Jackson and '80s beats reminiscent of Miami Sound Machine's Conga.
If forced to choose a band from music history with which Haim draws closer parallels, instead of Fleetwood Mac, it would be Hanson. Like the 1990s singers of "MMMBop," Haim are three siblings of the same sex, reared by their parents to dominate the music charts with their magnificently long tresses.
Throughout their hour-plus set, the three sisters shook their luxurious manes and showed emotion by running fingers through their perfectly conditioned hair. If the music thing does not work out, they can count on a lucrative contract endorsing Neutrogena or Herbal Essences.
But if Haim's success does not endure beyond debut album, Days Are Gone, hitting the sixth spot on the Billboard charts, it will not be because the sisters lack musical chops. All evening, they demonstrated the ability to shred guitar or bass while also each being able to bang on percussions with appropriate rhythm -- most impressively on the instrumental portion of "Oh Well."
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But still, they may be better suited to an immediate future filled with more intimate crowds than the packed room at the Fillmore. Because, at the moment, not only do their lyrics and stage presence not only lack sophistication, but none of their songs contain the timeless stupidity of a catchy hook like "MMMbop" had, though their "Wire" comes the closest.
One of the band's biggest strategic mistakes was that while Danielle Haim does most of the vocals, her older sister Este was charged with the onstage patter, which seemed to be influenced by the Shoshanna character from the HBO series Girls.
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"This is our first show ever in Miami," Este at one point told the crowd to cheers. "Since you invited us to your house, we're inviting you to ours. When our parents would leave town in the San Fernando Valley, we'd throw a house party. This is our party and we're going to jam for you."
That was cute in a wholesome kind of way, but I preferred the silent competence of Danielle who was all business and let the songs speak for her over Este's chattiness as she introduced "Don't Save Me."
"This is a song that will make you shake your booty. Miami is known for that," Este rambled on. "This is our first time playing in Miami. But we've partied in Miami. I remember the year 2000, before Y2K, we wanted to party. I was 13 with braces and we were at a wild party and when the ball dropped we heard the song 'Miami' playing."
She then went into an impromptu version of Will Smith's "Miami" that most of the crowd was loving and singing along with, but felt like being trapped at a sorority karaoke night.
With the sisters ranging from being young to being kind of young (Este's the oldest at 27 and Alana's the youngest at 22), there is time for them to fall in and out of love, hitchhike around the Southwest, or have other meaningful and meaningless experiences that might help their lyrics and personas catch up to their musical skills.
Maybe, one day, life will inform another batch of Haim tunes that are more memorable. Or at the very least, it could help them come up with wittier ad-libs between songs.
"If I Could Change Your Mind"
"Honey & I"
"Days Are Gone"
"My Song 5"
"Running If You Call My Name"
"Don't Save Me"
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