I had never seen HAIM live before their Lollapalooza set, so I had no idea what to expect. I knew they were on everybody's radar because they're a little peculiar: A '70s-inspired rock band from California made up of three sisters, Este, Danielle and Alana, all under 30. They have waist-length hair, look like Urban Outfitters models and everyone compares them to Fleetwood Mac. On top of all that, they even play their own instruments? That never happens anymore.
HAIM played to a small but loyal crowd at the Grove Stage in Grant Park Saturday night. Fans gathered in close as the three sisters were up against hip-hop's No. 1 crush, Kendrick Lamar, who we could still hear between songs despite being two stages away. "How the f-ck are we feeling, Chicago?" Este Haim, the youngest and the bassist of the group asked. Nothing gets a crowd going like an F-bomb in the first five minutes.
Since breaking out with their debut EP Forever in 2012, it's been nothing but buzz for HAIM. After a successful gig at 2012's SXSW, the sisters were signed to Polydor Records the following June. Since, they've supported Mumford & Sons and Florence and the Machine on the road, and their latest hit, "Falling," has nearly three million views on YouTube. If that's not making you feel unaccomplished enough, I also learned during their Lolla set that the sisters are not only inspiring, bold and insanely talented, but they're also hilarious.
After Alana, the keyboardist, was thrown her first ever bra from the audience, she looked genuinely touched. She told the crowd what was written on it—"I will always support you"—and shared her appreciation. "Oh man, it's a 'B' [cup]. Like me! We match! Itty bitty titty committee, girl. I feel you."
As for the music, it ruled. I thought I was done with headbanging until I saw these three bringing it back in sync during their electric hits "Better Off," "Forever" and their latest release, "The Wire." The massive dance party that broke out during "Don't Save Me" came as a surprise, but that's only because I'd never heard that song before. It's impossible not to dance to.
Despite the chugging guitars and the cool-as-ice demeanor, we also saw the sentimental side of the sister act. "[Lead singer] Danielle and I came to Lolla in 2007," Este told the crowd, "And we were at this stage watching the Cold War Kids. And I remember looking over at her—I'm sorry, I'm getting really emotional—and saying, 'Wouldn't it be crazy if we did this one day?'" She looked away from the mic to compose herself (because there is no crying in HAIM) before finishing her thought: "OK, now we're gonna jam for a little bit."
If by "jam" she meant "make all of you people brand new fans of ours," then yes, HAIM jammed for a little bit. A lotta bit, actually.
See all the best photos from day 2 of Lollapalooza: