Orb lights, plants and a Wisconsin hockey jersey brought The Orpheum stage to light this week. But more so than the stage were the people on it. The Head and the Heart, as well as the opening act Whitney, made for an unforgettable night.
The crowd consisted of both young and old, which is representative of the reach The Head and the Heart have over all age groups. It was also a pretty tame crowd, compared to shows at the Majestic, or perhaps ones for different headliners. Every band seems to draw it’s own type of crowd, and The Head and the Heart’s crowd was reflective of them — welcoming, kind and just there to enjoy some music.
Whitney didn’t seem to draw the same amount of attention from the crowd (to my intense sadness), which is surprising because they have gained an immense amount of popularity in the last year or so. The show they headlined at the Majestic this past December was riddled with fans.
In any case, they were straight up amazing. They played most of their debut album, Light Upon the Lake, minus the song “Light Upon the Lake.”
They were arranged in their usual style — Julien Ehrlich, main vocalist and drummer, front and center, co-writer and lead-guitarist Max Kakacek on Julien’s right, and the rest of the members filling in on the sides and behind (Will Miller on trumpet/keys, Josiah Marshall on bass, Malcolm Brown on keys and Print Chouteau on guitar).
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Whitney serenaded the crowd with their indie/country pop sound, and had the real fans singing every word (against the rest of the crowd that stood there like a pack of sardines).
In any case, they definitely hyped the crowd for The Head and the Heart.
During a slightly long intermission, The Head and the Heart finally came on stage. As soon as the members were in their places, the lights switched from black and the stage was lit with orb-like lights hanging in front of a curtain in the back, as well as a disco ball and a lit sign saying, “signs of light.”
Right off the bat, the band was energetic and ready to serve an entertaining show. Every time a verse came to a chorus, or vice versa, the lights would flash and change colors. Every color combination seemed to fit the mood of the song.
Songs from their whole collection made it onto the setlist, Signs of Light being their most recent album of 2016. Each song brought its own moment, and the band fed off of the momentum of the crowd’s reaction.
The only thing that could have been better about the show was that the female singer in the band could have been louder. She has such talent, and it sounded like her mic should have been turned up about five notches. Also, she should have been placed nearer the center of the stage, not off on the side.
Still, the group as a whole was immensely talented, and humble at the same time. There was a moment where the crowd went wild, and it appeared that the band was taken aback and appreciative about the reaction.
The lead singer said, “I was feeling pretty nervous at first, but I’m feeling right at home now,” and the tambourinist/guitarist said, “Well hot dog, thanks for showing us a good time.”
As expected, the band didn’t end with just their set, they were cheered back on stage for an encore. They came back with even more energy than before and continued to play four more songs. Their final song was “Rivers and Roads,” and the crowd was hanging onto every word.
The most anticipated part of this song was when the female singer came in for her solo. When the song reached this peak, she began her verse as normal but then belted it out like the crowd had never heard before, and they erupted. It was an amazing end to the show.
In all, the concert was full of energy, kindness, inclusion and talent. Whitney and The Head and the Heart exceeded Madison’s expectations.