1.8.14 at The Music Hall of Williamsburg
In the middle of a polar vortex, like most, I was looking for something to reel me back from the edge of SAD. So, I headed to the Music Hall of Williamsburg for a dose of indie pop administered by Betty Who and Haerts.
The show started off with Betty Who taking the stage with her band in matching RocaWear varsity jackets. Like a lanky Australian version of Robyn, Betty Who tore through her short catalog of electro pop songs – jumping and dancing and calling out the “Seven people that know me here.” The set went quickly with songs connected by jazzy interludes played out by the band and quick fun banter with Betty Who, who at one point encouraged the crowd to grind like they were at their 9th grade dance. The Who crew seemed genuinely stoked to be there, gaining a slew of new fans by the end of their performance.
With string lights and fog machines creating a dreamy ethereal space, Haerts then took the stage with lead singer, Nini Fabi, wearing a tunic akin to one of Rufus’ band members in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Nini started off shyly behind her keys, but eventually eased towards the center, commanding the crowd solely with her strong and youthful voice — no stage drama added.
Superfans in the first three rows rested their elbows on stage, singing along word for word and snapping photos of the relatively reserved band. Their delivery was flawless and the sound was of studio-like quality. Everything was balanced perfectly – Fabi’s fabulous voice supported by strong back-up vocals, generous keyboard play, and driving retro beat.
By the time Haerts brought out their “lucky song,” “Wings,” the crowd had fully defrosted. Cell phones went up, recording videos for the sole purpose of taunting friends who didn’t get to the sold out show. The group kept the energy going and followed closely with “All The Days” and even a new track about their current home base and tour stop, Brooklyn.
Although just one set— short, by most standards— the show was a lengthy one for the band, who stated that “It’s our first show where we don’t have to cut it down to 20 minutes” (a nod to their recent festival stints like CMJ). Leaving the stage to the sound of excited applause and chants, it’s clear that Haerts is on an upward trajectory and more than capable of holding their own on this headlining gig. And somehow, by being so cool, Haerts managed to leave the crowd happy and warm.
The opposite of how they came in, and exactly how they wanted it.
Writer | Kat Saoyen
Photographer | Katie Henry