Sunday night at The Sylvee, two bands rocked a few socks off.
The Head and the Heart played a sold-out show with poise and exuberance.
Their opener, The Moondoggies, matched the energy and folk-inspired sensibilities of The Head and the Heart flawlessly.
The Moondoggies, made up of lead vocalist and guitarist Kevin Murphy, bassist Robert Terreberry, drummer Carl Dahlen and keyboardist Caleb Quick, captured the audience’s attention from the get-go with opening number “Old Hound.”
The bold move to start the show with a laid-back, cozy-sounding song was fitting. Though both The Head and the Heart and The Moondoggies make songs driven by energy and passion, the songs are also usually incredibly intimate portrayals of love and comfort. “Old Hound,” from their newest album “Don’t Be a Stranger,” represented this element of the rest of the night.
The Moondoggies went on to perform a well-rounded set including songs from previous albums as well as several from “Don’t Be a Stranger,” including “Night and Day” with their signature rugged harmonies and spirited instrumentals.
After a break and a minor set change, the houselights went back down, the stage lights back up, and The Head and the Heart came out.
Dressed to indie perfection, the band came out immediately with “Living Mirage.”
“Living Mirage,” the title track of their touring album, kicked off their show slowly and quietly, then built up the energy. The crowd was with them every step of the way.
From there, they performed more songs from “Living Mirage” as well as across their career. The setlist included “Rhythm and Blues,” “Another Story,” and songs from their very first album, their self-titled album, including “Lost in My Mind” and “Sounds Like Hallelujah.”
The Head and the Heart is currently composed of lead vocalist and guitarist Jonathan Russell, violinist, vocalist, and guitarist Charity Rose Thielen, bassist Chris Zasche, pianist Kenny Hensley, vocalist, guitarist, and percussionist Matt Gervais, and drummer Tyler Williams.
About half-way through, all except Russell left the stage. He played piano and performed a poignant version of “One Big Mystery,” a song he only performs live and is not featured on any of their albums.
Their encore, after a short but insistent wait, consisted of “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” “See You Through My Eyes,” “Shake,” and fan-favorite “Rivers and Roads.”
Thielen’s fierce vocals and beautiful violin were lauded whenever they were showcased throughout, though they never did for very long. But the rendition of “Rivers and Roads” gave her plenty of time to finally shine. Her stirring vocal performance with the band in “Rivers and Roads” gave a new perspective and life to a song which so many love so well.
Both bands’ chemistry and character showed through in The Sylvee. And they’re happy to be working with each other. Russell shouted out his appreciation to The Moondoggies during the show and Quick of The Moondoggies shared warm sentiments with The Herald afterward.
“Touring with The Head and the Heart has been one of our favorite things we’ve ever done,” Quick said. “We’ve had a really beautiful and awesome experience. … We feel really fortunate to be here with everyone [sic].”