Analogue Music | The Oh Hellos - Live at 9:30 Club

The Oh Hellos - Live @ 9:30 Club

By Maria Edwards

I’ve seen The Oh Hellos perform when they toured for their last album, Dear Wormwood. The concert was easily one of the most moving experiences that I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Rarely is there a band that has the power and ability to bring a room full of strangers together on such a fundamental and spiritual level

Lucky for me, I've had the chance to bear witness to this phenomenon twice.

The most recent escapade into exploring ancient literary and cultural topics has led The Oh Hellos to the Greek personifications of the four winds. As of now, two albums, Eurus (meaning the East Wind) and Notos (meaning the South Wind), have been released that carry the narrative of these Greek myths. For the first concert of this tour circuit, siblings Maggie and Tyler Heath, along with the most joyous band mates, led the audience on a beautiful and mystical journey through these new tracks while also taking the time to harken back to some of the first tracks we were ever blessed with hearing.

Credit: Maria Edwards
Credit: Maria Edwards

To start things off, The Oh Hellos pulled first from Eurus and then Notos. “Eurus” immediately got the crowd’s mood to rise to celestial levels and then the humorously named “A Convocation of Fauns (A Faunvocation, If You Will)” held it there while the crowd was prompted through a mini-dance party. “On the Mountain Tall”, a fast paced, three-minute track, introduced Maggie’s iconic falsetto voice. It’s not often that a band can outperform a recorded album, but The Oh Hellos have clearly created an environment around each other and their work that is more conducive to a stage and audience rather than a studio. 

The band established a refreshingly vulnerable relationship with the audience through banter with each other and the crowd. Everyone was more than willing to hear about the band’s first-show-of-the-tour jitters and Tyler’s own acknowledgment of momentarily forgetting the set list. Moments like this, coupled with the band’s constant encouragement for everyone in the audience to dance, made for an environment that recognized everyone was there for an individual experience as much as they wanted to share this time with an understanding community.

Credit: Maria Edwards
Credit: Maria Edwards

As Maggie’s and Tyler’s voices gathered strength, the band was also gathering speed to launch into “The Valley”. This well-known track from Through the Deep, Dark Valley carries the emotional weight of having to bear the burden of original sin and having to beg for forgiveness. From this song, Tyler sang everyone into “Hieroglyphs” which casts a bright, hopeful light on the freedom of being a human made from the heavenly dust of stars and constellations. It’s evident that this was as much a concert for their new album as well as a chance to describe the human narrative using the four distinctly theological albums that make up their discography

The concert continued to seamlessly integrate old and new by using the profound lyrics that require careful attention to unravel and process. Listening to them at home or even in the car leaves room for these lyrics to pass over listeners unheard. In concert, The Oh Hellos give a performance that leaves no room for their lyrics to go unnoticed. Breathing life and passion into their powerful words moved the audience from laughter to tears and all the emotions in between. 

“Like the Dawn” bled into “O Sleeper” which melded into “Soldier, Poet, King”. Throughout these separate tracks, no one was ever jolted into or out of a song. The band knows how to use power to gravitate the attention of an audience in a way that strengthens rather than exhausts. The continuation of truths and reverberating beats brought renewing life to everyone at the 9:30 Club that night. Surely we are indebted to the entire band for providing a necessary relief from the burdens of daily life with hope for the future.