The Head and the Heart is an indie-folk band currently on their Living Mirage tour throughout North America to advertise their new album "Living Mirage." The band is from Seattle, Washington and consists of Jonathan Russell (percussion, guitar, vocals), Charity Rose Thielen (violin, guitar, vocals), Matt Gervais (guitar, vocals), Chris Zasche (bass), Kenny Hensley (piano), Tyler Williams (drums), and Josiah Johnson (percussion, guitar, vocals, on hiatus). I was lucky enough to get tickets from a friend for their show in Charlotte at the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheater on September 29th. The Moon Doggies opened, but I only got there in time to hear their last song.
The setlist was very diverse, incorporating songs from their previous albums, along with their new album "Living Mirage." They started the concert with the leading song from their new album, "See You Through My Eyes." To the satisfaction of concertgoers, the next song played was "Missed Connection," a single that charted #1 in the Adult Alternative Song category earlier this year. Some notable mentions and my favorites that were performed were "All We Ever Knew," "Honeybee," "People Need a Melody" (stripped), "Lost in my Mind," and "Rivers and Roads." A full setlist of their songs played, along with which album they are from, can be found at the end of this review.
The stage design was very minimal, but I think it got the message across to the audience. Wooden cutouts that resembled sanddunes were spread out over the stage, with lights illuminating them with different colors. The sanddunes are meant to represent the “Living Mirage” experienced as the band wrote their most recent album. The album was written in a studio in Joshua Tree National Park in California, surrounded by sanddunes and cacti. The set induced a feeling that the audience was in the dessert, peacefully surrounded by good music and good people.
As can be said for any concert, it is a completely different experience hearing the songs you love performed live. The Head and The Heart do an incredible job of making the concert experience worthwhile. The soulful voices of Charity Rose Theilen and Jonathan Russell mesh amazingly, and the harmonies provided by other band members can not be recreated with such quality in a studio. When I heard the opening to "All We Ever Knew" a few songs into the concert, I felt a sense of home and nostalgia. I’ve been listening to that song since the day it came out in 2016 and I am thrilled it has grown in popularity. "Honeybee" is another favorite of mine, which I only discovered a couple months ago, but it has been on repeat ever since. The stripped version of "People Need a Melody" felt like a religious experience and it was so beautifully done. "Lost in my Mind" and "Rivers and Roads" are two of the most popular songs sung by The Head and the Heart and hearing them live gave me the feeling like I was lost in the woods with no cares in the world.
Like most concerts, the Head and the Heart saved a lot of their more popular songs for the end of the concert, so most of my time was waiting for songs I knew best. I see this as an tactic that many bands and performers use to get their audience to stay longer. It is understandable why they do this, but I think that it could be beneficial to pull a song or two from the encore and put it in the main setlist so that the audience doesn’t get bored.
This concert was definitely worth the hour and half drive to Charlotte, snacks for the road, ticket cost, and all of the other stressors of attending a concert. I make sure that I get a tour shirt for every concert I go to so it was relaxing that there was never a line for the merchandise table. It was one of those concerts where the audience was mostly middle-aged people, so it was a pretty chill environment and made the experience even better. Too much energy makes some concerts not fun in my opinion. The band members also had a good connection with the audience. For the encore song "Shake," a few girls were brought up on stage with the band to jump around and take pictures with the band members. The song "10,000 Weight in Gold" was shouted out as a suggestion from an audience member. Jonathon Russell responded by saying “ask and you shall receive,” and proceeded to perform the song. The funniest part of the concert was when Russell was talking about the humid weather and stated “This feels exactly like jumping into a pool with all my clothes on.”
In conclusion, this concert was breathtaking. There is definitely a different vibe associated with indie-folk and it was a very delightful experience. The Head and the Heart do what they do well and know how to perform live even though their music is more relaxing and emotional. It invoked emotions of nostalgia, tranquility, and made you feel like you are one with nature. Although the song "Josh McBride" was not performed, I think we can all relate to the “young trees in the orchard, with the music on their branches.” Keep us away from the mouths of creatures, who intend us for no good.
Check out The Head and the Heart on Spotify, Apple Music, and Youtube.
I am a Senior Political Science major with a minor in mass communications and have been with WUSC for a while now!!! I will talk about movies, politics, local news, and anything else on my mind. The best part is the indie music I am going to play; I really strive to play indie music by underrepresented groups (women, POC, LGBTQ+, etc) and just have a good time!!!