Concert Review: HAERTS @ DC9 (12/3/18)

HAERTS
Nini Fabi of HAERTS (Photo from FB @haertsmusic)

HAERTS beat loud!

Amidst the hazy blue fog circling the stage, the indie pop band HAERTS parted the healthy-sized and enthusiastic DC9 crowd to take their positions.

Standing next to the stage, it was easy to watch Nini Fabi’s face contort during each song, vocalizing the emotional lyrics that soared over the guitars and the visible vibrations of the HAERTS-labeled drum. Ben Gebert switched prodigiously between his guitar and keyboard. This was their second US show on their tour and they were ready.

They kicked off their 15-song show with “Heart”, and in that moment Lini’s voice channeled Stevie Nicks, and one almost got chills (presumably). It’s a pleasant, atmospheric song of promises of staying together, and the perfect mood inducer to begin the show. Everyone in the front row was smiling. Next came “Wings”, one of my personal favorites.

HAERTS is powered by Nini (vocals) and Ben (keyboard and guitar), with two other players on bass and drums for this show. They both grew up in Germany, before moving to New York and forming the band in 2010. Nini made a point to highlight that their first gig as a band was actually in DC.

Then they moved on to playing most of the songs from their second album (9 of them), New Compassion, released in October and only four years after their first album! The new songs dig into the theme of new love and keeping that love strong.

With “Matter”, Nini wanted the crowd in on the act to sing the refrain, ‘if it matters to you, it must matter to me’, but I’m not sure we nailed it. Maybe we simply need a few more rehearsals in the form of them returning to DC soon?

“No Love For the Wild” languidly brought more chills, and another reminder of how Nini’s vocal pitch could get her a gig with Fleetwood Mac. Nini stopped “Special” for a ‘planned mistake, because I hear everyone likes that’, and fittingly since it is a song about second chances.

They ended the main set with “Fighter”, about wanting more in the love you have, but needing to recognize you have all you need.

We did want more, so the encore included “Hope” and the last song of the night (and the title track of the album) “New Compassion”, a guitar-jangly, foot-stomping rockabilly song, that got everyone singing and clapping along. Nini asked the evening’s opener, Vlad Holiday, to join them on the crowded stage, before they decided to break free and dance with the onlookers on the main floor.

If you weren’t planning on picking up a copy of their new album New Compassion, I will gladly let Santa Claus know you need a lump of coal in your stocking. Buy many copies, and give them as gifts!

To summarize, they were excellent. This was the third time I’ve witnessed them live, and the first time as the headliner. Make sure you track when HAERTS returns to DC, because I want to see you there!

Setlist
Heart
Wings
In This Time
Matter
Sign
The Way
(unknown)
All the Days
No Love For the Wild
Special
Hemiplegia
Your Love
Fighter

Encore
Hope
New Compassion

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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