Review by Mary Beth McAndrews, All photos from The Lumineers’ February 2013 performance at DAR Constitution Hall by Ryan Kelly
The Lumineers belong in your sweet heart, especially after the show they put on Friday night at Merriweather Post Pavilion. If you’re asking yourself, “The Lumi-whos?”, they’re the group behind the radio hit “Ho Hey.” They are a blend of roots music and indie folk, which usually means a quieter, more laid-back show. However, The Lumineers brought the energy as they played for their largest audience yet.
First, I want to give a shout-out to the opening bands, The Dig and Joe Pug. It’s got to be hard, yet satisfying, to open a sold-out show when no one knows who you are. But, the pressure didn’t show. The Dig went on first, playing the typical indie-folk stuff I would expect from any opener for The Lumineers. While they didn’t necessarily get the crowd moving, they were great. Plus, their lead singer looks like Ramsay Bolton from Game of Thrones. Next was Joe Pug, who’s country music wasn’t my cup of tea, but I can appreciate a lead singer/guitarist who also plays the harmonica.
Everyone was antsy, a little boozy, and ready for The Lumineers to get on stage. I know “Ho Hey” is ridiculously popular but frankly, I was surprised at the show’s turnout. I wasn’t aware of their fan base outside of “Ho Hey.” But almost everyone in the audience could sing along to every song in the set. And by everyone, I mean from young high-school aged girls to wasted middle-aged men (it was quite a sight).
They started out slow then progressed to “Flowers in Her Hair” which really got everyone moving. There was something about that cool summer night (no humidity, god bless), some cicadas, and great music that made everyone happy and just glad to be there, dancing despite the lack of room. It really is beautiful to look over the crowd and see everyone swaying with their arms in the air, clapping or singing or both.
Despite the nature of The Lumineers’ music, there was electricity in the air throughout the show. They tend to start their songs slow then progress to faster rhythms which definitely excited the crowd. The crowd collectively lost their shit when they played “Ho Hey” (relatively early in the set, too). I was just disappointed Will Ferrell didn’t make an appearance (video for those who do not understand).
One of my favorite parts of the show was when lead singer Wesley Schultz and vocalist/cellist Neyla Pekarek performed a duet together. In most of their music, you can’t really tell there is a female vocalist, so it was great to hear her individual voice, which is beautiful and should be showcased more often. Another memorable part of the evening was when the band travelled into the crowd and performed two songs in the middle of the pavilion. There was a glockenspiel solo, so naturally I was extremely satisfied.
The best part about their set as a whole was just how excited this band was to be there. I mean, most artists are used to huge crowds and aren’t fazed by it. But Schultz kept thanking the audience for making their dreams come true and the rest of the band was so energetic. I never knew you could have so much energy while playing the accordion (thank you, Stelth Ulvang).
Overall, The Lumineers played an almost perfect summer show. The music was beautiful, everyone was happy, no one spilled beer on me, and the weather was great, what else could be asked for at an outdoor show? The only damper on the night was the absolute traffic disaster getting out of the venue (Merriweather, why must you do these things to us?). If you like “Ho Hey,” please check out The Lumineers. They’re a band worth listening to for more than just their popular hit on the radio.