Haim Show Off New Material And Growing Star Power At Austin City Limits 2016

Just under a year ago, Haim told Beats 1’s Zane Lowe that, when it came to their (still forthcoming) second album that “the oven is pre-heated and the oven door is open.

“The fish fingers”, they added helpfully, “are in the tray.”

In the eleven months that have followed those comments we’ve seen the arrival of two new songs in their sets – ‘Nothing’s Wrong’ and ‘Give Me Just A Little Of Your Love’, but no studio-recorded releases – although they’ve suggested their new album could be out before the end of 2016. Any hopes that we might hear more new material in their set at Austin City Limits Festival 2016 were dashed comprehensively tonight (October 9), but what’s offered instead more than makes up for it. It’s a heartfelt, fun and perfectly honed hour that suggests album two will be well worth the wait.

The three Haim sisters released debut album of sheen-coated, Ariel Rechtshaid-produced pop-rock back in 2013 and they bring out seven of its offerings tonight. As the set progresses these become more and more rapturously received, and during the final two tracks, ‘The Wire’ and ‘Falling’, the wide aerial shots of the crowd displayed on the screens prove it’s one of the most mobile audiences of the weekend.

‘Falling’ is actually Haim at their best – they extend the track with a series of drum solos, circling around a central kit and egging on the crowd’s whooping. Elsewhere they pile on the personality with their cover of Prince’s ‘I Would Die 4 U’ from bassist Este (complete with synchronised guitar-dancing), plenty of swearing across the board, and a lengthy story about how Austin and its South By Southwest Festival was (eventually) the making of them: though their application for a showcase was rejected in 2012, they ended up playing five sets at friends’ shows that year and left the city with a record deal.

It’s not surprising that Haim only do two new songs – playing unreleased stuff at a festival can be a bit of a risk – but this new material doesn’t feel hugely out of place in amongst their older stuff. ‘Nothing’s Wrong’ in particular is a standout, building towards a brilliant guitar solo from Danielle Haim.

Though this material’s already on YouTube, it’s a tantalising taste of album two to hear it live. That pressure doesn’t appear to be affecting the band, though – they seem happy to take their time, relishing their ever-expanding audiences as that oven timer ticks away.

Haim played:
If I Could Change Your Mind
Don’t Save Me
I Would Die 4 U (Prince cover)
Honey & I
Give Me Just A Little Of Your Love
My Song 5
Nothing’s Wrong
The Wire