It was early 2012 when I was introduced to Haim, a three-piece family affair from Los Angeles, California. “You gotta check this out. I’ve been listening to it on repeat.” So sayeth my elder brother as he emailed me a link. The opening bars of ‘Falling’ played through my speakers and I was instantaneously hooked.

So I was delighted to receive a ticket in the post promising me some ‘Haim time’. The icing on the cake is that the gig is at The Ritz, which is among my favourite music venues in the city, mostly for its wonderful lighting and fab dance floor.

Now on to the show. The stage goes dark and the crowd goes wild. Deep, dense synth beats begin to emanate from the effects booth accompanied by orange-yellow lights coming on in sync. Soon enough, the talented sisters (Danielle, Este and Alana) appear and start with none other than – you guessed it – ‘Falling’. The vocals and the music are spot on.

The band plays a total of 11 songs, all from their studio album, Days Are Gone, which was released a little over two months ago. Every song carries Haim’s unique sound of melodic indie pop with nuances of nu-folk and rockin’ vocal rhythms.

All night, there was plenty of dancing and clapping, no thanks to Haim’s incredibly catchy tunes, such as ‘The Wire’ and ‘Don’t Save Me’. I especially looked forward to Danielle’s magnificent electric guitar solos, which were just so multifarious and far more thrilling live. An example would be the girls’ cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Oh Well’, the Brit-American rock band they are most often compared to.

Haim clearly demonstrates super levels of energy when performing, for instance on ‘My Song 5’, where they are at once powerful and aggressive and sharp. But what I love about them is their ability to also channel that intensity in more low-key songs, such as ‘Go Slow’ (Alana’s favourite), ‘Running If You Call My Name’ and ‘Let Me Go’. Their vocals really shine through, often merely backed up by minimal instruments and cushioned by gloriously atmospheric effects.

Finally, special mention must be given to Haim’s excellent audience interaction. Danielle, Este and Alana speak to the crowd a lot. You can tell that the sisters are very grateful and excited, revealing that they’ve “been waiting all tour to come to Manchester”. At the beginning, Este even requests for the lights to go up, allowing them to see the massive sold-out crowd, to which Este gushes, “It’s so crazy, you guys!” On ‘Forever’, the sisters look on in amazement as the crowd basically takes over vocal duties for the bridge.

The night ends pretty much the way it started – with a bang – as the girls pound on drums in tune. It is the perfect wrap-up to a perfect show. Haim truly is an incredible band. Danielle, Este and Alana have such beautiful voices that complement one another, both when overlapping and separate. And the sisters have very distinct personalities, hence giving their fans plenty of showmanship and entertainment. All hail Haim.

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Amanda Hoi

Amanda is in a committed, lifelong relationship with indie electronic music. Plays the cello and guitar, and plans to sing once she's mustered enough courage. She's a Malaysian who's found her home in Manchester. Currently reading law at the University of Manchester.