A collection of musically themed musings by Brendan Bush in Burlington, VT

Wrapup: The Head and the Heart @ Higher Ground 2/15/2011

Filed Under: Concert Reviews, Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Wednesday February 16, 2011

Last night, I caught The Head and the Heart (who opened for Dr. Dog) at the Higher Ground.  It’s the strangest thing, but their performance was so impressive that it really makes their album seem a little lackluster.  Not that I’ve stopped listening to it today (currently on the third time through), but the band has definitely come a long way since they recorded it (they originally self-released the album in July 2010), and their live act adds so much character to their music.

The Head and the Heart @ Higher Ground, Burlington VT

They clearly have such a good time playing that it was hard not to get swept up in it, but what impressed me wasn’t  just the energy they played with.  They also consistently belted out flawless 3-part vocal harmonies, thumped and shook impeccably timed percussion and threw in a jangly piano and some violin to boot.

Jon Russell and Josiah Johnson share the lead vocal duties, and both went all out.  Russell’s voice is normally deep and raspy, but he hits falsetto notes too.  Johnson was so crisp and clear that at times it was hard to believe there were other instruments playing.  Percussionist Tyler Williams went from four-limbed madman, nearly jumping out of his seat for entire songs, to egg-shaking time keeper, precisely placing shifts and tics.

My only hope is that as they continue to write music, The Head and the Heart finds a way to use vocalist/violinist Charity Rose Thielen’s voice more often.  She’s the perfect complement to the two male voices in harmonies, but it was her several solo lines that garnered the most attention from the audience (In “Rivers and Roads” and “Winter Song”), and I was seriously impressed at her vocal range.

All in all, I highly recommend seeing The Head and the Heart.  It’d be pretty hard not to have a good time.  Oh, and if they are opening for Dr. Dog and you plan on staying for that, make sure to bring your earplugs.  I brought the wrong ones, and only made it through the first 5 Dr. Dog songs before I couldn’t take the loudness anymore.

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Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

Recommended February shows in the Burlington area

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Tuesday February 8, 2011

With the arrival of the new year and the recent or upcoming launches of several music-related websites based in the Burlington area, I’ve been spending some time thinking about why I began writing here, and why I continue doing it.

One of the main reasons I began was to encourage more people in Burlington to go to shows.  I’m still baffled sometimes at certain shows selling out, while others play to a crowd of 30 — or less.  And I know from bringing friends to shows that a lot of the music I like is just categorically good, and generally folks are really happy when they come to a show with me.  The only barrier seems to be their exposure to the music, which I’m trying to solve by writing here.

To make a long story short, here are some upcoming shows in Burlington and Montreal that I’m either planning on going to, or really wish I could make it to but can’t.  If you like other music you’ve listened to or read about because of this site, I highly recommend going to any of them.  Try one out.  If you’re reading this from somewhere else, then check the venues around you for some of the bands listed below.  Based on past experience, I’m almost certain you’ll be happy you did.

Friday, February 11
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings @ Higher Ground
Tickets: $20

Tuesday, February 15
Dr. Dog w/The Head and the Heart @ Higher Ground
Tickets: $18

Wednesday, February 16
Interpol w/School of Seven Bells @ Metropolis (Montreal)
Tickets: $34

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Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.