The Head and the Heart deliver heartfelt performance

Last Thursday in the Hoogenboom Center, The Head and the Heart performed at Calvin for their second time.

The Head and The Heart is an independent folk-rock band that also works within the genre of Americana. They previously performed at Calvin in October 2011 in the Covenant Fine Arts Center.

Ken Heffner, director of student activities, said the band was invited back to Calvin after a good experience with them last time.

“We had a great time with them two years ago and did again this time. They truly like playing here,” Heffner said.

Heffner also explained that the band is a very good fit for a concert at Calvin.

“Their name gets at part of it but [it is] also what they write about and the way they write,” Heffner said. “They have a wide pallet of things they write about which makes them interesting to us.”

The opening act, Canadian folk singer Basia Bulat, was a pleasant surprise for the night, walking on stage with a peppy demeanor, a ukulele and an autoharp.

Bulat sang songs like “It Can’t Be You,” “Tall Tall Shadow” and her biggest hit from 2010, “Heart of My Own.”

Bulat’s entire performance was beautifully strung together with strong vocals and a warm stage presence. She seemed just as pleasantly surprised with the audience as they were with her. Many audience members shouted out song suggestions and were clearly familiar with her music.

After a half-hour of set changes, The Head and the Heart came on stage and performed their biggest hit, “Cats and Dogs,” to an excited, sold-out crowd.

The band played a mix of their 2010 self-titled album and their 2013 release “Let’s Be Still.” The audience was more familiar with the 2010 album but the mood of the concert remained upbeat throughout the entire performance.

Overall, The Head and the Heart were much better live than in their recordings. They had an incredible stage presence with moving songs that silenced the crowd at times and carried the crowd with enthusiasm and energy at others.

The song “Winter Song” moved the audience to an impressive silence that was even heard by singer Jonathan Russell, who commented that he had never experienced such a profound silence from an audience before.

Other notable songs included “Down In The Valley,” “Lost In My Mind” and “Shake.” The concert ended with a heartfelt rendition of “Rivers and Roads” that left the crowd satisfied.

Russell attributed the band’s success to their fans.

“We have amazing fans,” he said, “so thank you so much.”