The Head and the Heart don’t disappoint at Stephens Auditorium show


Courtesy of Curtis Wayne Millard

Indie-folk group The Head and the Heart will perform Thursday night at Stephens Auditorium in support of their new album, “Living Mirage.”

Tanner Owens

The Head and the Heart certainly know how to capture the hearts of a crowd. The Seattle-based band visited Stephens Auditorium Thursday night, bringing with them a decade-long catalog of indie folk and folk-rock music. 

Wooden set pieces around the stage resembled the spine of a whale and reflected light across the stage. An elevated drum set took up the middle of the stage while various platforms were attached for other band members to step up onto during their set. Stephens Auditorium created a perfect atmosphere for the band, making the concert feel incredibly intimate. Lead singer Jonathan Russell led an emphatic performance that lasted nearly an hour and a half. As soon as the concert began, the crowd immediately rose to their feet and stayed there for the entirety of the set.

The band’s piano-heavy folk anthems have dominated the airwaves and folk charts since their formation in 2009. Thursday night’s concert demonstrated they have no signs of slowing down. Each member of the band, particularly guitarist and singer Matt Gervais, genuinely enjoyed their time on stage and regularly interacted with the very vocal crowd. Gervais created a frenzy near the front of the stage by hanging his microphone over the crowd and walking the length of the stage. 

Violinist and singer Charity Rose Thielen elicited rabid cheers and shouts every time she lent her powerful voice to songs. Her violin pieces didn’t go over too badly either. 

Between songs, Russell shared humorous stories from the road and stories about the formation of their band.

“Put us all together and we sound alright,” Russell said. “But by ourselves? Probably the least proficient musicians you’ve ever heard. But we’ve been together now for 10 years so hopefully we’ve improved by now.” 

While the first half of Head and the Heart’s set was dominated by fast-paced guitar and piano-heavy songs, the band slowed down the last half, giving the audience a breather from the raucous cheers each song garnered near its end. A call for an encore yielded not one, not two, but three more songs. One of which was a cover of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” Opting to keep the audience in suspense for the entire concert, the band finally played their greatest hit, 2013’s “Rivers and Roads.” The song’s end marked a fitting end to a fantastic night of music. 

The Head and the Heart, after a blazing performance, exited the stage with a bow and left the stage in a wave of cheers and applause. 

Preceding the Head and the Heart were The Moondoggies, another Seattle-based rock band. Rare to opening acts, The Moondoggies garnered a standing ovation following the completion of their 40-minute set. A steel guitar solo highlighted the band’s many instrumental breaks while lead singer Kevin Murphy’s electric guitar solos also drove the band forward.

Murphy’s awkward delivery during talking bits between songs made The Moondoggies feel like your neighborhood band, which gave a sense of comfort and connection with the audience. The band has been performing since the mid 2000s and couldn’t have been a better fit for the main act’s brand of folk music.