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The Head and the Heart – Photo by Emily Reiling

The Head and the Heart have now toured through Philadelphia four times in my four years on this side of Pennsylvania, released a third studio album, and temporarily parted ways with a founding member.

The indie-folk band is based in Seattle, but after Friday’s performance they are officially the group that has most frequented the stage of Fishtown’s Fillmore since its doors opened in 2015, introduced to the scene by Philly-turned-Nashville friends Dr. Dog.

If there is one thing that is certain in the world of live music, it is that rarely will one regret going to a show early. I’ve found several of my favorite acts this way, and Friday’s show openers The Shelters have now been added to the list. The LA-based four piece brought old school rock’n’roll and relentless energy to the stage, complete with head banging, fast footwork, and tight electric guitar riffs. The Shelters released their debut self-titled LP The Shelters in 2016, two years after Tom Petty invited them to his home recording studio when he saw them live at a show in LA. See below for pictures of the performance.

For the next 90 minutes, The Head and the Heart performed an excellent set packed with old favorites and newer tracks from their 2016 release Signs of Light. They performed essentially the same setlist in front of a backdrop of palm trees, flamingos, and crystal balls, but what really set this performance apart was the crowd.

To say The Head and the Heart is beloved by their fans is an understatement; they create songs that touch, excuse me for saying this, the head and the heart of every listener and that come to mean something special, signify important moments. Where the Signs of Light tracks are lighter and more uptempo, those of the previous two albums claim several tearjerkers. More telling than the crowd that audibly sang along with every word and nuance were the people who were moved by the music, the ones who couldn’t keep dry eyes throughout the show – and these were just the people directly around me.

The group continues their North American tour through October before joining The Avett Brothers for a brief residency in Mexico, and after that we can only hope that news of a fourth album will surface. Keep scrolling for pictures of the performance.

The Head and the Heart – Photos by Emily Reiling

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The Shelters – Photos by Emily Reiling

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