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19th July 2022

Live Review: HAIM @ Victoria Warehouse, Manchester

Sarah Taylor reviews HAIM at their second Manchester stop on their One More HAIM Tour.
Live Review: HAIM @ Victoria Warehouse, Manchester

It’s rare with a rock band that you can name every member. It’s also rare to see a rock band where each member’s star shines equally – usually it’s the lead singer, or maybe a wise-cracking bassist whom audiences take a liking to. But with HAIM, sisters Danielle, Este, and Alana work as a true unit, all exceptionally talented, all well-versed in entertaining a crowd.

The pop-rock trio returned to Manchester for a double-bill of headline shows at Manchester’s O2 Victoria Warehouse located in Stretford, where they performed for some 7,000 fans across the weekend as part of their aptly titled One More HAIM Tour.

As ‘Now I’m In It’ begins, each member enters the stage, singing their solo and wielding an instrument, simultaneously showing off their musicianship and ability to command the room. They each receive rapturous applause upon entrance. This only continues as the multi-talented siblings rotate between instruments and lead vocals throughout the night. They perform ‘I Know Alone’ – now a viral TikTok dance – to a tee.

During ‘Up From a Dream’ the three musicians are accommodated their own individual drumkits, tearing the stage up with a mixture of marching band-esque rolls, and such tenacity that would put the likes of John Bonham and Phil Collins to shame – no, seriously!

Alana, who recently had a starring role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Academy Award-nominated Licorice Pizza, leads the between-songs banter to begin with. She describes her audience as a “sea of babes” much to their delight before recalling an anecdote about a psychic who once told her she’d marry someone from Manchester, joking that that person may well be in the room tonight.

Later Danielle reels off venues the band have previously played in Manchester, in increasing capacity: Gorilla (which she refers to as Gorillas, but we’ll allow it) and the O2 Ritz. She remembers how a band who played at the neighbouring venue asked their crowd to put two fingers in the air to HAIM, and so they asked their audience to respond similarly at the time.

This time, however, she asks attendees at Victoria Warehouse to do the same, but for “anyone who threatens the rights of women, especially their reproductive rights”, implicitly referencing the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade, denying access to a safe abortion for millions of people in the US. Their activism, and decision to use their platform to be outspoken about issues close to their hearts clearly resonates with the crowd.

‘3 AM’ is preceded by Este taking a faux-phone call from a ‘Daniel’, who’s been watching Gogglebox, before bashing out a sublime bassline on ‘Gasoline’ – and making her trademark bass faces. Whilst some bands repeat the same jokes each night no matter where they’re playing, it seems HAIM have really perfected their onstage patter, making it culturally and city-specific.

Danielle performs ‘Man From The Magazine’ solo, accompanied only by her trusty acoustic guitar. Its tender moments like these, contrasted with the high-energy of main-set closer ‘Summer Girl’ that make you realise what a truly great band HAIM are, with their discography encompassing a range of emotions and genres. Before ‘FUBT’, the girls move side stage to give their touring saxophonist the space to play a sensational solo.

Though spread out evenly across the stage, during ‘Hallejuah’ the sisters converge at the centre, embracing each other or resting a head on another’s shoulder. Their familial bond is tangible in the audience, as fans mimic this with their friends. Their cathartic Women in Music, Pt III hit ‘Don’t Wanna’ encourages a huge singalong moment. Meanwhile, in a classic onstage move, Alana and Este divide the room into ‘sides’ and ask each to sing the main refrain of ‘Want You Back’ the loudest. It may be one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it works a charm every time.

Their encore contains two of their biggest hits, the breezy soft rock of ‘The Wire’ and ‘The Steps.’ Despite soaring temperatures due to the ongoing British heatwave, the audience danced on enthusiastically throughout the hour-and-a-half set. Between their blissful pop-rock bops, relentless riffs and musicianship, and their unparalleled stage banter, the band put on a truly memorable show. Here’s hoping for one more HAIM!

You can buy remaining tickets to HAIM’s One More HAIM Tour here.

Sarah Taylor

Sarah Taylor

Head Music Editor @ The Mancunion. Freelance Music and Culture Writer @ DIY, The Line of Best Fit, Gigwise, etc. Avid gig-goer and alt-rock enthusiast! Twitter: @tayl0rsarah LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-taylor-48a562211/

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