Honestly, I first thought this Hudson Block party was a little bit of a craze, a long line to get in under the hot sun, congested entrance and way too many people at the same place… how could they have imagined to fit thousands of people in a block of a few square feet? This is the difference between a street fair and a block party, the space, and when I got inside, it seemed that people were just there to drink beer and have fun under the sun. No problem with that, but I was there for the music and it took me a little while to figure out that one of their so-called a stage was in fact just a DJ truck.
So I stuck by the only true stage where lots of people were already hanging out with a glass of beer in each hand, bouncing their body to whatever hit was screaming through the speakers.
I actually arrived just in time for the trio Haim, the sisters whom were recently praised by no less than Ryan Adams, and although they struggled with the sound during their set (hey not their fault!) I found them quite terrific. Totally at ease on stage, the frontgirls, Danielle on guitar, Alanah on rhythm guitar and keyboard and Este on bass, have found a way to marry some folk elements, classic rock, R&B (they said they have listened to Destiny’s Child, TLC and Aaliyah a lot in interviews) and sibling vocal harmonies, which actually were more screamed than peaceful harmonies most of the time.
Their bold attitude, shared-time on vocals, and catchy rocking tunes got the attention of the crowd right away. Wearing Metallica t-shirts, long floating hairs, ripped jeans shorts, and a long black dress for one of them, they were quite active and definitively knew how to occupy the stage, more pleasantly aggressive than trying to look cute, with explosive detours during their songs. They even covered Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green’s ‘Oh Well’ and certainly gave the song all its Led-Zeppelin-potential.
‘We are from stud(io) city, we are from the valley’ said eldest sister Este Haim who was swearing like a guy and was playing bass with swagger while keeping her mouth large open as if she was releasing an incessant wild scream. Some of their songs released a real fury with violent riffs, and a muscular drumming assured by the only guy on stage,… they certainly proved they could do some real damage with a short set of just a few songs.
After a few more solos of screaming guitars and intricate melodies giving even more character to their rebellious tunes, each member of wild bunch picked up a drum set for their last song, and ended ferociously beating the hell out of them. The intensity of their set is actually poorly represented by any Haim track you can download online, as these valley girls sounded like a combination of attitude and talent destined for success whereas none of them has even reached 25!