HAIM at Kool Haus, Thursday May 15 Rating: NNNN
Two years after Haim parlayed buzz band status into a major label deal, the California trio made their long overdue Toronto debut with an expertly choreographed rock show that could not have made a better first impression.
Last year's Days Are Gone album drew gushing allusions to Fleetwood Mac and catty comparisons to Wilson Phillips in equal amounts, and after a dramatic entrance to pulsating lights and a slow drum beat, sisters Este, Danielle and Alana Haim (and drummer James Barone) immediately threw their hat in with the former. Opening number Falling established a blazing classic rock template for the ensuing 90-minutes: deep grooves, clapalong breakdowns, extended guitar solos, epic outros and lots and lots of Este's meme-worthy bass face.
The set also included two covers that nodded to disparate influences: a thundering rendition of Fleetwood Mac's bluesy instrumental Oh Well and a straightforward take on XO, the Coldplay-est song in Beyoncé's catalogue.
Haim have an effortlessly affable presence that makes them seem more like co-conspirators than rock stars - an image they played up with funny and digressive Valley Girl banter. But it was their digressions into shredding like every song was their last that set them apart.