The Head and the Heart
October 20, 2016
In a prelude to the night’s festivities, first filling the dark stage were the fitting sounds of the Eagles “One of These Nights”, with one word at a time lighting up the neon “Signs of
Light” insignia—symbolizing the special night to come. Once it was fully illuminated, the sextet composed of Jonathan Russell (vocals, guitar, percussion), Charity Rose Thielen (violin, guitar, vocals), Chris Zasche (bass), Kenny Hensley (piano), Tyler Williams (drums) and Matt Gervais (guitar) filling in for Josiah Johnson-who is currently on hiatus, took their place on stage and in front of the crowd that welcomed them with open arms.
Kicking off the show was the current # 1 smash on the alt charts—“All We Ever Knew”, the lead single off of Signs of Light, their first major label release and third album. Playing a great mix of songs from all three albums, THATH delivered favorites and highlights of a union that has undergone lots of soul searching, a band with a renewed energy.
The beautiful “Let’s Be Still” allowed for one of the many standout moments, with the crowd erupting in cheers when Charity’s voice entered the song. Her vocal sound contrasted Jonathan’s effortlessly and expressed the true feeling of that other person lying ever so still next to you. Then the dreamy “Your Mother’s Eyes” saw a revamp in positioning, with Kenny Hensley taking a seat on a stool center stage with an acoustic guitar, and Jonathan assuming Kenny’s roll off to the right on keyboards. The dark platform and center spot on Kenny moved us into a much more intimate venue feel.
“Lost in My Mind”, began with an invitation by Jonathan for the crowd to join in, and from the start, the crowd of almost 3000 was singing every note, filling Terminal 5 with nothing but musical magic. As the beat of the drums grew louder, the crowd moved from singing to dancing and swaying, and in the end, the audience still had plenty of voice left to give.
Closing out the set was “Down in the Valley”, where the audience once again took over the opening lyrics, and Jonathan remarking how well their voices were warmed up. Upon conclusion, all went dark except that illuminated “Signs of Light” insignia, indicating the encore still to come.
The five-song extra opened with a new, but already beloved “Library Magic”, with Charity, Jonathan and Matt singing together. Written by Thielen, this song will stand as one of the greats from the THATH catalog, filled with lyrics reminding us that “there will always be better days”. How can there not be, as it always manages to leave a smile, hopefulness, and a feeling of tranquility. The melody ended with a very heartfelt display of gratitude by Charity.
As the encore moved on, they were sure to play the fan favorites that everyone has to come to know and love. Hearing “Cats and Dogs”, I could not help but remember the first time I heard that song and knew right away that this band is special. This was then followed by “Coeur d’Alene”, both from their self-titled first release. In “Coeur d’ Alene”, Charity played a commanding & powerful violin. You never think that in a rock band the violin can have such an impact as it did here, and as strong as this song gets with the drums and piano, her violin still took over, and had the crowd dancing to the sound of the bow’s tracing of the four violin strings.
The night ended with “Shake” and then a final “River and Roads”. The lights came on and not many felt the desire to leave. Surrounded by true signs of light, all were just consumed with thoughts of returning the following night for more emotion, dreams, and radiance. I know I was.
All We Ever Knew, City of Angels, Ghosts, Rhythm & Blues, Another Story, Let’s Be Still, Your Mother’s Eyes, Lost in My Mind, Winter Song, Oh My Dear, I Don’t Mind, Colors, Sounds Like Hallelujah, Down in the Valley
Library Magic, Cats and Dogs, Coeur d’Alene, Shake, Rivers and Roads
Scenes From The Head and the Heart at Rough Trade