This past Friday night, The Shelters and The Head and the Heart hit 9th Street, blowing us all away and closing out this year’s Summerfest concert series. The weather was perfect and the crowd’s excitement was more than apparent. The Shelters were first to take the stage, warming up the crowd with their upbeat brand of blues rock. They brought an almost tangible energy to the crowd that was sustained all night long, which is what we all look for in an opening act.
Next up was The Head and the Heart. This band puts on an impressive performance no matter where they are, but they were without a doubt well suited for a 9th Street Summerfest show. Something about a cool breeze hitting your face right as band member Charity Rose Thielen’s melodic voice comes in on the second verse of “Let’s Be Still” gives you a rush of pure joy and content unlike anything else.
It was obvious that many of the concertgoers were big fans, singing along to every song and knowing every word. The band played a mixture of songs across all three albums, while leaning heavily on their most recent release “Signs of Light” and making sure to include crowd pleasers like “All We Ever Knew” and “Rhythm & Blues”.
Based solely on crowd reaction, the highlight of the night was inarguably when the band played “Rivers and Roads” at the end of their incredible four-song encore. Many fans have an emotional connection to the song and its relatable lyrics about friendship and the changing phases of life. Crowd members put their arms around each other and belted the well-known lyrics bringing about a sense of camaraderie and connection among strangers that only good music can provide. This in addition to a consistently energetic and magical performance from the band made this show one of the best we’ve seen this year.