Haim started off with a song about the end. Opening Milo Greene’s Satellite residency on Monday, February 20, sisters Danielle, Este and Alana commanded the room with their snappy melodies and tribal drum beats on “Better Off,” a new song from their Forever EP (which Ke$ha recently tweeted her love for).
Dressed in a Venice Muscle Beach cutoff shirt, lead singer Danielle weaved her gutsy vocals through 80s pop flourishes with the grace and range of Stevie Nicks, as Este and Alana backed her up with saturated sisterly harmonies. In between singing catchy chants and nimble rounds, the Haim sisters took feverishly to the drums, continuing to play one of the drums even on its side after it tumbled to the floor.
Either by word of mouth or by lead singer Nathan Willett’s distinctive tattoos and gnarled guitar, some already knew surprise special guest Cold War Kids before they played a single note. But by the time Willett opened his mouth, letting out that unmistakable raw soul of a voice, most people were enlightened (though not the group of girls who later turned to each other with gasps of awe when Milo Greene thanked Cold War Kids – the only time their name was mentioned that night).
Cold War Kid’s new material from Yours is Mine with recently added guitarist Dann Gallucci went over swimmingly with the crowd at the packed yet intimate venue that a band of such stature rarely gets to play. And by the playfulness of band members who kept charging and kicking each other, they enjoyed the freedom of this partial anonymity.
The audience stuck around for Hands (who some joked only have four members on hand), as the band’s bright and dazzling indie-pop got notoriously stationary LA concert-goers to dance – quite the achievement for a Monday night. Headed by lead singer Geoffrey Halliday, Hands combines airy “oh-woh”s with momentary vocal intensity, as well as brisk drums with spacey snyth overlays, creating a multi-textured sound. Listeners will get a fuller taste on Hands’ Massive Context EP, out this April.
Milo Greene greeted guests warmly to their residency, singing “even as the world turns, I’ll be there to watch the fire burn, burn us both alive” (from their song “Cutty Love”) beneath glowing red lights on stage. Singer and multi-instrumentalist Marlana Sheetz added a womanly touch to the otherwise male band, singing softly from underneath a big black brimmed hat that tousled her straight blond hair.
Band members played musical chairs with their instruments, incorporating banjo, shaker and tambourine into blue-grassy harmonies and folk-rock sincerity that inspired much hand clapping and head swaying. Everyone sang along to the crowd favorite “1957,” from the whimsical waves of “it takes me away” to the primal chants of “I’ll go I’ll go I’ll go I…” In the midst of older material, Milo Greene also took some of their new songs for a walk, teasing audiences with samples from their debut full-length album due out this spring on Chop Shop/Atlantic Records.
A DJ set by Superhumanoids ended the night.
Milo Greene will be playing their last residency show tonight at the Satellite, and Haim will be rocking It’s A School Night at Bardot.