tue 09/08/2022

Haim, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - charismatic siblings personable as ever | reviews, news & interviews

Haim, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - charismatic siblings personable as ever

Haim, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - charismatic siblings personable as ever

The sisters kept the chat going but ran out of steam

Haim enjoyed regular banter with the crowd

Sweetness never lasts too long at a Haim gig. No sooner had Alana Haim, the youngest of the Californian siblings, finished a speech about her delight about being back in Glasgow by announcing she was going to “smell the f****** roses” then bass-playing elder sister Este piped up with “I’m smelling my armpits. They are ripe.” It summed up a chat-heavy show that at times felt like part gig, part stand-up comedy try-out.

For all the banter, which reached such an amount that Alana quipped at one stage she felt all they’d done was talk, the trio have an assurance about playing large venues. An opening which featured middle sister Danielle swaggering onstage and powering up “Now I’m in It”, with her siblings making staggered introductions to whip up further cheers, could have been lifted from any pop band spectacle, as could the choreographed dance that accompanied the slick groove of “I Know Alone”.

Such style had its limits though, which they careered past on an interminable intro to “3AM” which involved Este taking a staged phone call from a “guy she met in Tesco” that morning. It dragged on for so long that you began to wonder if it might actually be three in the morning by the time the song kicked in, and the unassuming number was not worth the wait, with the gig’s pace firmly halted.

However the sisters' sheer personality provided a free-wheeling vibe that ensured the gig mostly avoided feeling too overly produced while adding character in a large venue that can sometimes swallow up acts. Este delivered humour and crudity, Alana chatted with cheerful excitement, and Danielle held things together in the middle, while impressively flipping between guitar and drums throughout.

It was she who delivered one of the standout moments of the night, with a solo “Man From the Magazine” a caustic blend of anger and dark humour regarding sexism they’ve faced in their career, with a line regarding her reaction to being sneered at in a music shop greeted with roars of approval from a heavily female crowd that have no doubt faced many of the same dismissals over the years. Shorn of gimmicks and chatter, it was a reminder that Haim can write some cracking stripped-back songs too.

Yet the majority of the set was focused around their patented blend of pop-rock, with a huge emphasis on the Woman in Music, Pt III album released last year. Fourteen of the night’s 18 songs came from it, a cocktail that overemphasised the newbies at the expense of anything prior, particularly during a lengthy mid-set segment that slowed the pace down. It was noticeable that when the past was visited, on an intense “My Song 5”, a terrific, shimmering “Forever” and their most Fleetwood Mac-esque moment of “The Wire”, that the gig’s tempo considerably picked up.

That isn’t to dismiss their most recent work, and “Gasoline” fizzed with killer harmonies, while “Don’t Wanna” was prime summer pop fit for arenas. The sunshine vibe stretched too far into being mellow at points though, such as ”Summer Girl” providing a disappointingly languid end to the main set, “Leaning on You” rather dreary and a version of “Los Angeles” dominated by lengthy saxophone jamming greeted by muted applause and a loud cry of “get on with it!” from one obviously fed-up punter.

It was a far cry from the gig’s earlier moments, when Este broke into the crowd to encourage a “here we, here we, here we f****** go” chant, the band’s good-natured spirit and the Glasgow crowd’s rowdy enthusiasm combined. Thankfully it returned for the encore’s aforementioned “The Wire” and a vibrant “The Steps” that brought the good times back with vivid life. If only the whole night had possessed it.

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