It was a beautifully romantic night to be serenaded by The Lumineers. The stars were brightly glistening, couples were passionately kissing, and I was chilling with the breeze. I was ready to be emotionally moved/ hyped by a band that has risen to fame for their innate ability to lyrically capture millennial problems. The Lumineers sing about the frustrations of being a twenty-something that, for all his or her issues, cannot kill her resilience and faith in better tomorrows. Thus, I can divide my appreciation in multiple ways.
My first appreciation for The Lumineers was that they perform their greatest hits within their first few songs. “Ho Hey” and “Ophelia” are immediately played to both amp up the energy and common knowledge that The Lumineers are folk radio stars. While in most concerts, the artists save their greatest hits for near the end of the show, The Lumineers get them out of the way to give the audience immediate satisfaction and surprise for the rest of their set list. With your favorites immediately passed, you are more willing to listen to the next track that will be played from each of their albums.
My next appreciation for The Lumineers comes in that they play songs from both their albums. Their concert felt like a celebration of each with highlight tracks being Dead Sea, Angela, Long Way From Home, and Stubborn Love. Having such a vast set-list of both their albums strongest songs was smart and refreshing. It brought to life how vast The Lumineers are as musicians and, particularly, as lyricists. It was only in listening to their songs in comparison from their first and sophomore album that I realized their musical success comes from an overarching sense of lostness and optimism.
From Where The Skies Are Blue to Scotland, the Lumineers create tracks that capture the perseverant hope each person carries that one day “they will figure Life out”. Hence, their songs are stunning and resonating. I cannot say that The Lumineers, themselves, are powerful performers as much as their songs are empowering soundbites to life. Wesley Schultz sounds exactly like the album. He hits every note and annotation with a precision that makes you think you are literally listening to him on your iPod. He is also a rather still presence on stage. He humbly speaks to the audience over his awe at how far he has come from a being a struggling musician in Brooklyn, his father’s tragic passing from cancer, and now he is back in BK playing a packed house (i.e. Prospect Park). Hearing The Lumineers’ songs live allowed me to realize that each one was about trying to overcome the “hits” life gives you to smile and love again.
I have to say that when comparing both albums, I found the Cleopatra songs maturer than the ones from their self-titled debut, which makes sense considering it was 4 years between their releases. While songs like Ho Hey were brimming with bright hope, Cleopatra’s tracks like, Gun Song felt quieter. Another notice that I could have only picked up in their concert, along with that they are voting for Hillary Clinton. They even added a lyrics to Classy Girls in support of her. In addition, they played a fantastic cover of Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues. It was during this cover, that I witnessed how music Dylan has influenced Schultz in voice and presence. They share similar approaches to songs in raw annunciations and tones. They are like lonely troubadours trying to win at love while not being sure if they can win at life.
My final appreciation for the Lumineers in concert came in their playing of a few tracks in a little stage they had constructed in the middle of the bandshell. As my readers know, I go to BRIC often, and, at times, artists come into the audience like, Jon Batiste riveting NOLA march. Yet, The Lumineers were the first band I have ever seen to build a separate, small stage just to sing for those in the back that were standing as long as those in the front to experience them. I thought it was a sweet gesture that revealed another layer of love and generosity The Lumineers have for their fans. Schultz remarked on the honor he feels that people even listen to their music, but it is the fans that feel honored he is making it.