Review: Harriette and Joan Slay Subterranean

Its been a while since I’ve had the pleasure of attending a show at Subterranean, and Texas-born singer-songwriter Harriette alongside indie-pop band Joan put on a spectacular evening of live music. What better way for two talented artists to showcase their debut LPs than a show together? Harriette’s debut single “at least i’m pretty” has accumulated well over 50 million streams on Spotify since its release in 2021; she’s already achieved that lo-fi bedroom pop stardom that the likes of Clairo achieved during her early singing days.

If there is one thing Harriette is an absolute pro at, it's her killer singing. She warmed up the crowd not only with her quaint country-esque tunes but also with her whimsical personality. She concluded every song with the gen-z slang word for doing something well: “slay,” which to my enjoyment the crowd eventually caught on that “slay” was her thing. They began saying it back to Harriette after the end of each song which made her grin from the crowd's presence. Subterranean is not a huge space but Harriette certainly captivated the entire room; making the stage her own. My personal favorite of the night from her debut album i heart the internet was her lively song “Goodbye Texas” which is about breaking up with and leaving her birthplace for a more liberal environment.

It’s always a bummer when you are genuinely vibing with an opener and the necessity that comes with being an opener: brief set times. She performed a short and sweet set that turned me into a new fan! Harriette has taken her Texas roots and used them to influence and mold her own unique sound. Incorporating country motifs into shimmering indie-pop guitar melodies with her gentle vocals, she makes for a standout up-and-coming artist to keep on your musical radar.

After a lovely opening set from Harriette, indie-pop duo Joan took the stage to a roaring audience. The band is made up of half Alan Benjamin Thomas and half Steven Rutherford. Joan has a very devoted fan base; as I’ve seen them a few times now I generally tend to see familiar faces at Joan shows, which is an indicator that this band is a little hidden gem for a handful of lucky people. After an elongated series of singles and EP releases, the release of their long-awaited debut album, superglue, is sure to change their hidden gem status. There’s one thing for certain; Joan knows how to make catchy pop music that will induce dancing among even the shyest of fans from the crowd. The front row fans were especially involved in singing every lyric and dancing like it was their living room, a feeling that Joan shows tend to provide.

Joan performed what felt like the perfect setlist. Pulling songs from as early as their first EP, their countless singles and of course superglue; we got a hefty Joan sample platter that evening. They concluded the evening by letting the crowd know that encores were weird so instead of walking off and coming back; singer Alan told the crowd the last three songs were technically the encore. They performed the self-titled track “superglue” followed by their fan favorites and most well known tracks “love somebody like you” and “drive all night.” You know it was a great show by the end of the night when fans were drenched in sweat and their voices obliterated from singing their hearts out.

All photos by Andrew Lagunas

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Andrew Lagunas

Andrew Lagunas is a freelance photographer from Naperville who specializes in portraiture and concert photography. He has an Associate in Arts degree from College of DuPage and is always looking for new creative outlets.