Matt Crowley/The AS Review
The feeling of disappointment after the cancellation of Gogol Bordello’s April 22 show at Western was certainly palpable. After all, when it was announced along with The Tallest Man on Earth show that played the same weekend, it seemed almost too good to be true.
Well, the Associated Students Productions has suspended disbelief once again, announcing a free (Yes, free!) show on Wednesday, May 25 at the Performing Arts Center featuring Seattle favorites The Head and the Heart, along with a preshow with soul group Wheedle’s Groove, Underground Coffeehouse Battle of the Bands winner The Cat From Hue and runner-up Lamppost Revival.
For those of you just finding out about this: sorry, all the tickets have already been snatched up. But for those who managed to snag one, here is what you can expect.
Featuring a cast of mostly transplants to the city of Seattle, The Head and the Heart have become darlings of the Seattle music scene, loved by listeners young and old. In a music scene where the words “local” and “loyalty” mean just as much as the music itself (Blue Scholars, Modest Mouse, etc.) one can only hope the love fest continues.
When Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes announced recently that he was moving to Portland, both the Seattle Weekly and The Stranger wrote what Pecknold described (via the Fleet Foxes Twitter) as “joke-y, belittling articles,” and said that “being a local press punching bag is one reason I moved.”
In the comments section of the Seattle Weekly blog post showcasing Pecknold’s tweet, after readers called Pecknold “thin-skinned” and a “whiny POS” (I’m sure you can figure that one out yourself.), while another reader, in more or less words, asked, “Why aren’t we talking about The Head and the Heart?”
So, why aren’t we talking about The Head and the Heart? Well, a lot of people are. Publications like Seattle Weekly and websites like “Sound on the Sound” have all issued gushing reviews of the six-piece group, prompting comparisons to bands like the Avett Brothers and The Beatles.
Of course, The Head and the Heart don’t sound like The Beatles, but the two share a lot in common, from their use of harmonies to the general catchiness of their songs. A better way to describe The Head and the Heart is to think of them as a type of indie-folk or Americana, as a part of the folk revival spearheaded by groups like Fleet Foxes, and more recently Mumford & Sons, which uses lots of acoustic guitar, little percussion and emphasizes vocals.
Sounds a bit like a formula these days, doesn’t it?
But don’t worry, group members Josiah Johnson, Charity Rose Thielen, Tyler Williams, Jonathan Russell, Kenny Hensley and Chris Zasche are far from formulaic, bringing powerful songwriting and inventive compositions into the fray. The Head and the Heart are experts at building a song up, slowly adding layers upon layers until all cylinders are firing. But they’re just as good as bringing it down, exposing not just the lyrics, but the sincerity and hope that fills each track, something that has endeared listeners since their self-titled first album was released last year.
The Head and the Heart may not be the first of their kind, but they’re a good example of what it takes these days to stand out in a crowded field.