(photo by Haim)

SM PIER ¬ó On the Westside, there are few sights as beautiful as watching the sun dip below the horizon at the Santa Monica Pier.

While Hollywood has its nest of seminal concert venues, when the summer months roll around, it’s the pier that draws the crowds looking for the smell of sea salt, the glitter of a California sunset and music from some of the best artists around — all for free.

The Twilight Concert Series continues tonight with HAIM — a band consisting of “three sisters and a mister” hailing from the San Fernando Valley. Recently, HAIM has piled up accolades and attention from The Guardian, Vogue and the Los Angeles Times for their unique sound, which blends elements of rock and R&B, all the while retaining an understated Southern California coolness.

“HAIM’s sound, while still developing, has an energy and harmonic sense along with playful lyrics that fit in with the Twilight Concert Series’ mission of discovery,” said TCS promoter Martin Fleischmann.

The sisters ¬ó Alana, Danielle and Este Haim ¬ó teamed up with local L.A. drummer Dash Hutton four years ago after playing, performing and writing music for most of their lives. They grew up with the music their parents listened to ¬ó Fleetwood Mac, Prince, Joni Mitchell and Smokey Robinson ¬ó but 1990s L.A. radio hits and girl bands like TLC and Xscape seeped into the mix as well.

“There was so much music coming at us as kids it was hard to keep track,” said Alana.

They got their start on stage playing in the family band Rockinhaim with their parents at street fairs and charity events before breaking out on their own musical careers. Eventually, the girls returned home, vowing that they’d play music together until they were old and gray. Thus HAIM was born.

Este plays bass, Danielle plays lead guitar and Alana handles percussion, rhythm guitar, keyboards and all three juggle the vocals, often at the same time — the gem-like title track off their EP titled “Forever” shows off the sisters’ impressive harmonizing.

Though HAIM has never played at the Santa Monica Pier, the venue holds a special significance for the sisters, for whom visiting the pier was “a big treat” when they were younger.

“If we did well on our report cards, or we won a soccer game, our parents would treat us to a day at the pier playing arcade games and riding the carousel,” said Danielle.

Now, concert-goers will get a treat of their own when HAIM takes the stage. Even musicians as seasoned as the young members of HAIM get shaky nerves sometimes; but that fades.

“Stage fright always happens right before we go on stage, and then once we’re on, it dissipates,” said Danielle. “We each need to say each other’s nickname three times before we go on stage. Then we know we’re ready.”


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