Concert Review | The Head and The Heart at The Royale 9/30/11

Josiah Johnson & Charity Rose Thielen (photo by Catherine Maldonado)

The Head and the Heart energetically performed their travel-weary, pop-folk pastoral songs where roads, bridges and streams are so prevalent you’d think they wandered back to the city after a few years with some woodland creatures. Many of the songs are geared to the high schooler looking to take “a year off to travel” before college who ends up broke in a small town romanticizing the life they had before. Someone’s always leaving or missing or being missed. Surely “Rivers and Roads” will be the indie student vote for graduation song of the year.

Jonathan Russell (photo by Catherine Maldonado)

The Seattle based band have been touring for two years on the strength of their 2009 self-titled and self-released debut. The album got a wider release than the band’s home-burned copies on Record Store day this year by Sub Pop. Still on the rise, playing at any coffee shop or high school that would have them on this tour, they appeared shocked by the success and graduating from their April show at The Paradise to the sold out crowd Friday night at The Royale.

Josiah Johnson and Jonathan Russell share the lead vocal duties and harmonize along with Charity Rose Thielen. Charity’s visible excitement fuels her sometimes alarming stage presence. The sudden start and stop movements characteristic of an impassioned violinist continue when she puts down the violin to sing or even walk around on stage as though she continuously comes in contact with an invisible wall. The band quickly exhausted their short catalog and played a few new songs in the same vein written since the album’s release. “Josh McBride” pays tribute to only the endearing qualities of family members throwing in attic ladders, woods, orchards, barns and a nod to Bob Dylan with a line about “boots of Spanish leather” for good measure.

Thao Nguyen (photo by Catherine Maldonado)

Openers The Devil Whale and Thao and The Get Down Stay Down were great, but their hour-long sets seemed to grate on The Head and The Heart fans.Thao Nguyen is a captivating performer and a unique vocalist that takes some time to warm up to. Thao’s sultry rendition of “You Really Got a Hold on Me” got little attention from the chatty audience.

www.theheadandtheheart.com

thaomusic.com

www.thedevilwhale.com

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