Haim / Jinja Safari - Shackwell Arms, London
US sister act Haim were the only new band that stood out for me at this year's Great Escape Festival in Brighton. I was only able to watch around half their set on the Saturday evening but I really enjoyed what I heard, so vowed to see them again as soon as possible, jumping at the chance to attend a very intimate London show a couple of days later.
One of the other acts I encountered at TGE were Australian group Jinja Safari, who performed as part of the Aussie BBQ. I wasn't a huge fan of the band's music as their Afropop leanings aren't really my thing (I don't like Vampire Weekend either) but I did enjoy their show a lot as they were quite an energetic bunch, so it was a nice surprise to arrive at the venue to find the band sharing a bill with Haim. The Jinja boys brought the fun again and I actually enjoyed their music far more this time round.
The Shackwell Arms was heaving for Haim's set, with the audience rammed in so tightly that bass player Este mentioned she could smell the breath of someone in the front row early on in the show, asking who’d been eating spaghetti bolognese?!
The girl's had drawn the curious to the venue due to rave reviews of their recent performances at Austin's SXSW, TGE and their free three track EP - Forever, the only material currently available from the band.
The sisters were joined onstage by a young male drummer, with Danielle playing lead guitar and Alana rhythm alongside the previously mentioned Este, with the girls' short set pulled from their EP, some new material and a cover of Fleetwood Mac's 'Oh Well'.
Haim have been compared to the Mac but I don't think it's a fair comparison, although their retro 70's sound does remind me of a way funkier Lissie, who's also had Mac comparisons, so what do I know?!
The live performance was a lot harder than their recorded work suggests, with all three sisters delivering a full on performance, winning the crowd over completely. One of Danielle's blistering gutar solo's even resulted in a broken string, leading to a brief break in the set but we were all kept entertained by Este with a little anal sex anecdote, featuring the perils of iphone auto correction!
The band's set was way too short but it ended on a great note, with the night's final song building to a very noisy climax, with all four band members battering the hell out of assorted drums on the stage, leaving the audience bellowing for more, having witnessed a very special show indeed.
We may not see Haim back in the UK for a while as they obviously got to take a bit of time to make their debut album but I'm sure they'll return when they can as they're fans of the UK, with Este mentioning she'd love to stay here due to the ratio of guys to girls!
One thing's for sure, both their debut album and future live shows will be well worth the wait.