“Don’t follow your head, follow your heart,” The Head and the Heart preach in their song “Heaven Go Easy on Me,” which they played Friday night, September 5 at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. The Seattle-based sextet combines the best of rock and folk to create a sound that’s intricately layered and perfectly harmonized. Lead vocalists Josiah Johnson, Jonathan Russell, and Charity Rose Thielen add depth to the musical complexity of the songs.
The band played crowd favorites off their two albums, The Head and the Heart and Let’s Be Still, opening with “Cats and Dogs” to roaring applause. The great thing about a band with only two albums is that the fans know every single word to every single song. Right from the opening notes of the first song, the audience was hooked, singing along with the band and with each other. The audience had so much fun bouncing and singing along to “Sounds Like Hallelujah,” “Lost In My Mind,” and “Shake.” The whole crowd put their arms around their neighbors and swayed during “Rivers and Roads”. A few even shed tears during Charity’s vocal solo.
After that song the band left the stage, coming back on to encore with an unfamiliar song not previously recorded. They followed it with “Summertime” and ended with “Down In the Valley.” And while every member of the band is an extremely talented musician, none stands out quite like Charity. As the only girl in the band, it’s clear that she’s something special. Her vocal range and power send chills down the audience’s spine, mesmerizing them with her presence. She is also an incredible violinist. Her solos during “Gone” song brought down the house, eliciting the most cheers throughout the night.
Los Angeles-based band James Supercave was the first of two openers. Their self described “pop” songs (stay tuned for our interview with lead singer Joaquin Pastor here) immediately caught the audience’s attention as the venue began to fill up. The band played hits from their debut EP The Afternoon as well as a cover of Little Dragon’s “Twice.” As the sun set, the stage lights brightened and a few members of The Head and the Heart began to dance on the side of the stage. This was James Supercave’s third show opening for The Head and the Heart and their friendship and appreciation for each other’s talents was clear.
Next up was Canadian artist Dallas Green, known by his stage name City and Colour. Though the band only played nine songs, the hour-long set seemed much longer. Many members of the crowd had never heard of City and Colour, but left wildly impressed by Dallas’ passionate vocals. There were plenty of fans that paid full price just to see City and Colour. The entire show was worth it to them just to hear the band play “The Girl,” featuring Matt Kelly on the slide guitar.
As the evening concluded with The Head and the Heart’s “Down in the Valley,” we found ourselves once again putting our arms around our neighbors and swaying. The nearly full moon shone bright on the audience, and all was well at The Greek.
City and Colour:
The Head and the Heart:
Photos by Sam Engel / Senior Staff