Haim April 17, Boulevard Pool
Most bands take their time returning to Las Vegas, but not Haim. Their debut Vegas show at the inaugural Life Is Beautiful Festival had naysayers reconsidering the sisterly trio after their full-throttle rock ’n’ roll set. It was unexpected then, but on Thursday night at the Cosmo pool, I knew what I was in for.
The Boulevard Pool was packed with both types of fans—those who knew just how much the Haim sisters can shred—and those who blast Days Are Gone as they get ready for a night on the town. While Haim seems to naturally appeal to some indie enthusiasts and clubbers alike, the latter were probably surprised and confused by Danielle Haim’s tenacious guitar solos and her Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers style—the kind of playing that blends the best of the blues and pop into upbeat, boot-scootin’ jams.
The show seemed to largely replicate 2013’s LIB set, beginning with “Falling” and followed shortly by a kindred jam session. “I want to collectively invite you into my home for a minute,” Este Haim said before delving into the same pre- Buckingham/Nicks-era Fleetwood Mac tune, “Oh Well,” played at LIB.
After some pitchy moments in October, each sister’s vocals were rich and warm. And Haim’s youngest member, Alana, was able to focus on rhythm guitar (and floor toms) after having to switch between three instruments at LIB (the band has a new keyboardist). After playing most of Days Are Gone, including slower, stripped-down versions of “Honey and I” and “Running If You Call my Name,” Haim kicked it into John Hughes overdrive for “Don’t Save Me” and “Forever” before throwing us a curveball in the encore—a shimmering rendition of Beyoncé’s “XO,” with Este on lead vocals and Danielle on the drums.
What Haim delivered on Thursday night might not have been the same Haim from the recordings, or from that popular Target ad. But despite their commercial success and quick rise to fame, every member of the band—from the sisters, to their greatly underrated drummer and keyboardist—plays with the kind of skill you’d expect from rock vets. If you thought Haim was a flash in the pan, they clearly want you to know they’re here to stay.