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The Head and the Heart 02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London live review

The Head and the Heart give their hearts to the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

The Head & The Heart
Credit: James Minchin

The Head and the Heart are currently on a European tour, and last night was London’s turn to listen to the band live at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. They’ve been together for almost eight years now, yet it’s only now that they’re beginning to make a bigger impact in the UK. Just like we championed The Lumineers before they got huge. We’re hoping the same thing will happen to The Heart and the Heart, because they deserve it.

Having interviewed Tyler Williams earlier in the day, he mentioned that the Shepherd’s Bush Empire gig was to be more like the shows that they perform stateside: higher in energy, bigger in production, more of everything. With the space they had, this enabled them to give their all and fill the venue with their presence. The reference was also in comparison to their last London gig in London that I asked them about, at the Hoxton Hall, which was more intimate in nature. I love going to a gig and seeing fans that are excited to be going inside the venue and taking photographs next to the band name in lights outside the venue. This makes me happy. Live music is still where it’s at, folks.

Their set design was sprinkled with a little bit of beauty and in some way, magic. With trees dotted around the stage, it looked like a mini setting from Madagascar (the country, not the animated movie), it looked beautiful! The band were keen to get stuck in to their set and after a few waves to the crowd, they were ready to perform. It didn’t take long to warm up the crowd, who were soon swaying and moving along to the songs.

What I like about The Head and the Heart is their lack of gimmicks or lack of pretence. And it’s not often that the drummer (Tyler) takes centre stage in a band and yet he was the one that I found myself drawn to look at, due to his super enthusiasm and energy, complete with a look of utter contentment and a joie de vivre. There are not many drummers who can take that from the front men/front women of a band! But The Head and the Heart are happy to share the limelight and they work together.

Every single song was covered in energy and heart, we could just watch them for hours. Most of the songs that featured were from their third and latest album – Signs of Light. There were some special moments in the set that I just look at in awe. Every lyric in Ghosts pierced the crowd with resonance. There was a stand-out and beautiful moment when the set and venue turned to dark purple lights and the venue sparkled under the setting of three huge disco glitter balls (just thinking about it makes me smile!).

There wasn’t a lot of talking and crowd interaction, but really, it didn’t feel all that necessary either. We were there for the music and that more than entertained everyone there. The crowd loved it and got more enthusiastic as the gig went on. But again, as with the last time that we saw them live, it seemed to be a relatively short stage time and they completed the set in just over an hour. The band back on stage for an encore that lasted another twenty minutes or so, ending in the absolutely epic Rivers and Roads. You need to see them live, they’re a joy.

Performance date: 2 February 2017


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