Scene+Heard: The Head and The Heart

Jan. 24, 2011 | 1 Comment

Seattle’s The Head and The Heart perform at Portland, Oregon’s Doug Fir Lounge on Jan. 19.

Editor’s Note: Today we welcome our newest member to the Honolulu Pulse blog ohana — Sabrina Velazquez is a singer/songwriter who was born and raised in Honolulu. The daughter of a mariachi singer and hula dancer, this self-proclaimed “music nerd” is now based in Portland, Oregon and is hard at work promoting her new album, “The Hawk & The Hunter.”

Here in her Pulse blog, “Scene+Heard,” you can follow Velazquez as she shares her reviews of concerts and albums, interviews other artists and spends time in the studio. Check The Pulse every Monday for her latest post.

— Jason Genegabus, Entertainment Editor/Online


I just recently became a fan of Seattle-based folk/rock sextet, The Head and The Heart.

Being a singer/songwriter myself, I am always trying to keep an ear out for new music and inspiration. I first heard The Head and The Heart’s song, “Down In the Valley,” thanks to a free download card from Starbucks about two months ago.

Their recent signing to the popular indie record label Sub Pop has created quite a buzz that seemed to carry into their live show, as I arrived to a sold-out venue at Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge this past Wednesday night. It was clear that The Head and The Heart had officially become “a band to see.” The show included opening sets by, Seattle native Bryan John Appleby, and Portland’s Kelli Schafer Band.

Bryan John Appleby performs.

Surrounded by four other musicians, including lead vocalist Mychal Cohen from the popular Seattle folk band Campfire OK, singer/songwriter Bryan John Appleby kicked-off the evening with a high-energy and nearly flawless performance. Though deeply rooted in folk music, his songs of storytelling tales, reminiscent of The Decemberists, also included some rock elements like hard drum beats and tight hooks. I caught him selling CD’s at the merch table after his set and after congratulating him on a great performance stood in the booth with him for a bit to chat.

Upon listening to her recorded songs online, I didn’t expect the live set I received from hearing Kelli Schafer and her band. Backed by drummer, Jeremiah Hayden and bassist/flute player Kris Doty, Schafer’s live set seemed much more rock than folk. Strumming a white Les Paul guitar she sang songs with titles like “City Morgue” and “Black Dog.” Her soulful voice was an odd compliment to the rock undertone of the music, but it seemed to work well and the audience supported their local performer most graciously.

The bar at the Doug Fir Lounge.

BY THE TIME The Head and The Heart walked on stage, I had made friends with most of my fellow neighbors in the crowd. I had no choice. Everyone stood so closely together to make enough room to see the band. I had talked to someone who said he had seen them open for Dave Matthews Band a few months back and that I was in for a real treat. I couldn’t wait.

Save for a new song, the rest of the band’s set comprised of songs from their new album. Listen to The Head and The Heart’s album and that’s exactly what you will hear live — a solo voice and guitar strum with backing harmonies and a powerful drum beat that fill in during the chorus, making you stomp your feet and sing along. What you won’t get from listening to the album is the energy they bring to the stage.

Thirty seconds into their first song, it was obvious they are a band that sincerely enjoys what they do. Making their positivity almost infectious as I saw it make its way into the crowd.

It was that very formula of solo voice and guitar to foot stomping chorus that made my favorite songs of the evening “Cats and Dogs” and “Sounds Like Hallelujah.” Leaving a happy crowd behind, they are on their way to a supporting European tour with the band The Walkmen.

Since the show I’ve listened to The Head and The Heart with even more appreciationfoot stomping included. Hmm…makes me think about my own music.

The Head & The Heart

With Bryan John Appleby and the Kelly Schafer Band

» Where: The Doug Fir Lounge (Portland, OR)
» When: January 19, 2011

  • Blaine Tolentino

    i love the head and the heart; “i am fuel you are friends” is a music blog that has a whole recording of one of their shows (i think a house show?) and its honestly just glorious