–by Vicki Lee and Randy Thompson
–photos by Laura Tucker
It was chilly Saturday night, and the full moon was shining brightly upon the Saint Louis Music Park for The Head and the Heart performance at the outdoor venue. The brought their “Every Shade of Blue Tour” through town and we got a chance to check it out.
The first act of the evening was Shaky Graves, out of Austin, Texas. The lead singer, Alejandro Rose-Garcia, came out by himself with a guitar and a spotlight on the dark stage. He greeted the audience with a nod and started into a bluesy number “Unlucky Skin” to set the tone for his set. Many of the audience there were familiar with his music and were excited and ready to rock.
Alejandro is an affable, skillful performer who engaged the audience immediately with the music and his storytelling moving smoothly into “Rolling the Bones”. He was soon joined by his band as they dug into “Excuses”. There was a spectral, sometime psychedelic atmosphere that surrounded the band’s gritty blues sound but there were plenty of rock undertones carrying them forward as they rolled into powerful tunes such as “Family And Genus”, and the boneshaking rocker “Late July”. When they left the stage after an hour the crowd was definitely warmed up and eager for more.
Having had never seen The Head and The Heart in concert before last night we thought we would check out a live set from them seeing that their music was professional, enjoyable, and solidly folk. We were interested and excited to find out how all of this would translate into a live performance and were pleasantly surprised when the full band came to the stage and began playing music from their most recent album Every Shade of Blue.
The Head and The Heart is one of those extraordinary live bands that takes good music and fills it with so much energy that the audience can’t sit down if they wanted to. The audience was standing from the beginning, clapping, cheering, and singing along.
THaTH (Jonathan Russell – vocals/guitar, Charity Rose Thielen – vocals/violin/guitar, Matt Gervais – vocals/guitar, Chris Zasche – piano/keyboard, Kenny Hensley – bass, and Tyler Williams – drums) certainly had a strong hold on them. These musicians have an exuberant energy and a knack for producing an excellent blend of rock and folk that kept the power on for the entire show.
They write meaningful lyrics that touch on all aspects of our lives, from “Every Shade of Blue” to “Rivers and Roads”, making the songs relatable. Their three distinctive vocalists each with their own style and energy, but still melding into the singular sound of the band. During the show THaTH added layers of violin, piano, keyboard, and solid percussion including the drummer using a maraca for a drumstick and battling with tambourines. The crowd loved every moment of it.
The Head and The Heart’s music comes alive during the shows. It is big, feistier, and more rockin’ than a “folk” band should be or than their studio albums lead you to believe. To say that our expectations were met would be understatement, we were blown away. When they come back this way, don’t miss them.
Shakey Graves Set List:
Roll the Bones
Ready or Not
Family and Genus
Kids These Days
The Head and The Heart Setlist
Every Shade of Blue
Don’t Show Your Weakness
All We Ever Knew
Let’s Be Still
Lost in My Mind
In the Orchard (Matt Gervais cover)
Hurts (But it Goes Away)
Down in the Valley
Happy Birthday to You (Mildred J and Patty Hill cover)
Virginia (Wind in the Night)
Rivers and Roads