As a long time alt-rock listener and a female musician, Haim is an important band for me. After finding their music on a Spotify playlist in 2013, I was an instant fan. Their sound is a modern take on the synth-pop of the 80’s and the rock of the 70’s (a near perfect description of my personal music taste.) After a stellar debut album in 2013, which consequently earned the band a Grammy nom for Best New Artist, the Haim sisters finally returned this summer with their sophomore release: Something to Tell You. The album is an honest revelation of heartbreak, yearning and redemption wrapped up in glossy package through Haim’s infectious rock rhythms and pop melodies.
After listening to their new album all summer, I was extremely excited to attend their show at the Ogden in Denver. Though I have been a Haim fan for several years now, I hadn’t been able to quite pinpoint why the band has been so impactful to me until this specific show.
Haim is influential because they are an act that consists entirely of women.
Why is this so important? Well, it’s no secret that the alt-rock genre is overwhelmingly dominated by men. In 2015 multiple publications found that when you remove the names of all-male groups from festival line-ups, only a handful of acts were left on the bill. In fact, Buzzfeed found that historically only 10% of the 500 acts that perform at Coachella each year are female-fronted.
Across the board, alt-rock bands have a lack of female members; POC and LGBTQ+ persons fair even worse. When there are women in a band, there is typically only one. Furthermore, those female members tend to fulfill historically and culturally female-centric roles such as the lead singer or the pianist. Haim is a refreshingly wonderful band because they diverge from the norm entirely. Not only does the band consist of only women but their main instruments are guitar, drums and bass. Though I don’t want to undermine the complete badassery of those lone female musicians in alt bands (Hannah Hooper of Grouplove and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes comes to mind), I can’t help but feel something awe-inspiring watching Danielle Haim shred solo after solo in almost every song.
That’s certainly how I felt this at this show. The Haim sisters performed an hour and half set to an enthusiastic sold-out audience. Every time I’ve seen Haim live, I’ve been amazed by their ability to truly work a crowd. They give their heart and soul into every second they’re on the stage. Haim is one of my favorite acts for a lot of reasons. Their appeal goes way beyond their basic demographics but I can’t help but notice their importance to the genre as a whole. I want to see more all-female bands creating waves in the alt-rock world. It’s definitely starting to happen – it’s just happening VERY slowly. Of course, there are killer bands of all genders out there but you can’t deny Haim’s impact. It’s amazing to witness an all female band not only carry their own in a male dominated genre, but knock it out of the fucking park.
Alana Haim put it perfectly when she said,
“There’s some sexy ladies out there. There’s some sexy men too, but I’ve gotta say, there are some sexy sexy ladies!”