By: Zachary Kolesar, In The Record Store staff writer.
Usually I am the type of concert goer who likes to move about freely, making my body one with the song. Before Saturday night, I never really understood why one would want to stay confined to an assigned seat, but there is a time and place and mood for everything.
For The Head and The Heart’s Columbus stop on their Signs of Light tour with Whitney, the venue was Palace Theater in Downtown Columbus on a late February night, and their lush indie folk sound was fitting for the nearly 3,000-seat restored theater.
Opening act Whitney’s six-piece setup put out more tame vibes, allowing the audience to indulge from their seats for its 45-minute set that kicked off just after 8 p.m. With a setup that had lead singer and drummer Julien Ehrlich at center of the stage, the band’s lighthearted tunes“ — “No Woman,” “Golden Days” — resonated throughout the massive venue, as a calming mix of keys, trumpet and guitars warmed up a crowd that was more than ready to embrace The Head and The Heart.
It was quarter after 9 p.m. when the striking synths of Van Halen’s hit “Jump” echoed throughout Palace Theater. The song is from the album “1984” and was just one of the many of the band’s small nods toward the 80's. No matter how upbeat or backseat a tune that The Head and the Heart churned out was, a pink flamingo neon sign stayed highlighted in the backdrop of the stage, further adding a soothing and retro presence to an already chill night.
“Jump” also got most of the auditorium on their feet, and most of those people stayed that way for the 20 or so songs The Head and The Heart jammed out to. Headed by guitarist and singer Jonathan Russell, the group, promoting its 2016 release “Signs of Light,” ran through nearly half of the album’s tracks and visited some older favorites like “Let’s Be Still” and “Sounds Like Hallelujah”
The crowd seemed to groove to slower ballads just as much as the faster-paced, louder jams, and that was best captured by the three-song encore the band closed the night with.
Starting the denouncement of the night with a solo performance on the keys of “Signs of Light” by Russell, with a sole light aimed on him, was the most moving vocal performance of the night. It was followed up by “Shake,” the brashest instrumentation showcase of the night, prominently featuring violinist and vocalist Charity Rose Thielen, who received multiple singled out cheers throughout the night.
The Head and the Heart closed out the night with what they call their traditional concert closer “Rivers and Roads,” a very moving song that had me swaying back and forth the most out of the night. It was a calming exit for an already very calming night, fit for a (finally) cold winter night in late February.
Images courtesy of The Head and The Heart, et al.