Harlem @ Siren

A lot of bands with complicated sounds like to take their act to the stage and put on a big, complicated show. Sometimes, this works very well (see Holy Fuck) and sometimes this falls short (see Cymbals Eat Guitars). But sometimes a band with a very simple sound and a very simple show to match can steal an entire festival. Enter: Harlem.

I’ve long professed my love of this smarmy Austin trio who has made a name for themselves singing about weed, love and “Gay Human Bones,” and after seeing their set at Siren, I can now profess my love for their live act. After watching the seemingly snotty and disconnected Surfer Blood, Harlem was a breath of fresh air. Between ripping through the likes of “Friendly Ghost,” “Be Your Baby” and “Gay Human Bones,” the three kept things happy and playful, occasionally egging on the already feisty crowd for more support. As if at the band’s command, the audience moshed harder, crowdsurfed even more and were promptly shoved back in by security.

If any band had a finger on the pulse of the audience, it was Harlem. They played flawlessly and appeased what appeared to be every single person in attendance. Their garage side pleased the angst-ridden masses, while the pop side simultaneously lifted their spirits. Despite the pushing and shoving, the people in the crowd seemed genuinely elated. Even if nobody, including me, knew what “Gay Human Bones” was exactly about, the crowd and the band looked too happy to care.

Harlem – “Gay Human Bones” [MP3]

More photos after the jump.

[All photos by James B. Hale/Knox Road from Siren Music Festival]

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