The Head and the Heart have been busy learning Kung-Fu, how to fly planes, collaborating with Mavis Staples and pursuing other musical projects, after their unanimous decision at the end of the Lets Be Still tour to take some time off. Earlier this year, along with the sad news that the band won’t perform with the full original lineup, they presented the first hints of Signs Of Light. On the second night of the first tour without co-frontman and lead guitar/singer Josiah – who’s role is in the hands of Matt Gervais (violinist Charity Thielen’s husband) – the band proved that they are back with rock star stamina and rocked a powerhouse show at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado.
The Signs Of Light tour features a neon Signs Of Light stage prop as well as several plants to help keep the stage decorated. They walked onstage to an 80’s soul song and within a few minutes, Jon belted out the opening lyric of All We Ever Knew. This song, as well as City Of Angels, felt a bit rushed even though the music kicked ass. City Of Angels is definitely one of the best of the new batch. For the third track, The Head and the Heart delivered a rocking version of the classic Coer D’Alene from the self-titled debut. Although it’s hard not hearing Josiah on the songs he wrote, The Head and the Heart is still the indie superstar band that it is.
More highlights from the stellar set included Ghosts, Another Story, Rhythm & Blues (a new song which Jon told the audience was “his jam right now”) and 10,000 Weight In Gold, which featured enchanting and eerily high pitched falsetto harmonies from Jon, Charity and Matt. After fan favorite Lost In My Mind, came the title track of the last album Let’s Be Still. This version featured an extra jazzy and syncopated verse from Charity as well as a new ending jam. Winter Song was another extraordinary highlight and even though Josiah wasn’t adding his harmony, Matt stepped into the role perfectly and contributed to Jon and Charity’s howling harmonies.
One exciting and clever idea the band has put together this tour is the segue from Oh My Dear into I Don’t Mind, the latter of which came to life after Jon decided instead of ending Oh My Dear whistling along to this guitar riff, how about I make this outro into another song. The performance of these two songs is fun too because Jon is solo on stage for Oh My Dear and towards the end of the song the rest of the band plugs in. After Sounds Like Hallelujah, the band took their time playing around with electronic effects before Kenny plucked the first guitar notes of Library Magic.
Down In the Valley was the set closer and Jon edited the lyrics of the bridge to “I know there’s California, Colorado” to tribute the fact that they’re playing a concert in one of the most beautiful and famous venues. Charity joined Jon on stage for a flawless, energetic, encore rendition of Ever Since. The full band came back on stage for Colors and afterwards Jon took the mic and dedicated the last song to Josiah who “says he misses you all and he’s excited to be back with us when the time is right.” As the band capped the night with Rivers And Roads, the member of the band who wrote that song was deeply missed, and although there’s a bit of a rough patch in The Head and the Heart family, they still rank high as a top indie folk rock must see act.
Scott J. Herman