Quick Concert Review: London Grammar and Haerts

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Quick Concert Review: London Grammar and Haerts

London Grammar has been on a whirlwind pace since posting their first song on YouTube less than a year-and-a-half ago.  After swinging through Washington, D.C. last fall, they returned to close out the North American leg of their tour at the sold-out 9:30 Club on Monday night. Despite saying repeatedly how ready they were to head back across the pond, they put on an energetic show that displayed growth since played a small D.C. venue just six months ago.

Lead singer Hannah Reid sipped tea throughout the night to keep her vocal chords fresh, and they definitely were well-maintained. The sound of her voice in a crescendo feels like it could physically push you over. It was on full display in the opening hit “Hey Now,” and only continued from there, retaining strength without sacrificing femininity. Her tremendous projection and the emotion it carries seemed incongruous with her demure body language — standing completely still, hands clasped, as though unaffected by the tune’s emotional arc.

The band’s most dynamic moment came during “Wasting My Young Years.” What starts out as a melancholy song about giving up and moving on suddenly transitioned into a dance number, complete with flashing lights and a syncopated bongo drum beat. The cover “Nightcall” appeared to be the crowd favorite, garnering a hearty applause. Hannah’s ethereal voice is every bit as haunting as the robotic voice in the Kavinsky original.

Haerts performed a lively opener, peppered with generous tambourine-shaking and a very high-pitched singer. While songs from their 2013 EP Hemiplegia were extremely polished, a few songs from their new album (forthcoming in July) were slightly less so, the second song of the night sounding particularly off-key. Their show blended pulsing guitars, a very ‘80s synth, and rich layers of keyboards with Nini Fabi’s unusual voice. She keeps the band from straying into well-trod electro-band-fronted-by-high-pitch-female-vocalist territory by taking on a slow twang at times, almost reminiscent of a country singer.

Having proven ready for bigger things, Haerts will soon return to DC as headliners — May 8 at U Street Music Hall. London Grammar, meanwhile, will be back Stateside to play a show in Los Angeles before heading out on a European tour in June.

 

All Photos | Katherine Gaines
9:30 Club, Washington, D.C.

London Grammar

 

Haerts

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