The Lumineers @ Metro City
w/ The Money War and The Hunting Birds
Saturday, April 22, 2017
The Lumineers aren’t the kind of band that you would have thought would be a worldwide phenomenon. They make albums that are best listened to from start to finish and aren’t the type of act who (regularly) have singles that will top the charts. Despite all of this, their quality is undeniable and they are every bit the arena filling act.
The Hunting Birds were given the unenviable task of opening up early to a room of people who had never heard of them before. At this time of the evening, most in attendance were preoccupied with their order at the bar, or meeting up with friends, but the Fremantle based folk-rock outfit carried on diligently bringing as much energy as they could muster.
Dylan Ollivierre (Rainy Day Women) and Carmen Pepper (Warning Birds) spent time in the USA in 2015 and decided to make music together. The result was The Money War who have got their tunes on Triple J and secured some knowing looks from the crowd as they arrived at Metropolis. The Money War played tight tunes with appealing vocals to offer a great appetiser on the night.
Although the core of The Lumineers is a three-piece, they flesh the band out with a host of touring members to replicate the songs as they appear on the records. The band are accomplished and crisp from the onset with their brand of earthy folk being full of light and shade as evidenced on opener Sleep On The Floor. Frontman Wesley Schultz was the early focal point with his navy blue suit, long hair and the most prominent pair of white shoes seen outside of a Seinfeld episode.
The other songwriter in the band, Jeremiah Fraites came to the front of the stage to stand behind a kick drum and offer backing vocals for Flowers In Your Hair, whilst a theatrical take of Classy Girls and Dead Sea from the debut album were aired early with Schultz’ making up for his imperfect vocal with an infectious enthusiasm.
Original members Schult, Fraites and Neyla Pekarek crowded around a mandolin for Charlie Boy to show that they are just as accomplished even when at their most stripped back. The disadvantage of being a large enough act to play at a venue the stature of Metro City is that you attract a larger group of people than usual who like to sing along whilst being tone deaf. Two of the worst culprits were the Irish ladies who, flatter than a three day old lemonade, butchered there way through Ho Hey, much to the chagrin of anyone within earshot.
There is little doubt that Bob Dylan is a major influence on the band and Subterranean Homesick Blues was their way of driving this point home. Schultz took a microphone into the crowd and sung his way through the tune as he mingled, only to appear back on stage in time for it’s finale. He continued his zestful performance by using a tambourine with such gusto on Ophelia that it shattered and leading the band through a breakneck version of Big Parade.
Pekarek has played a more pivotal role on previous tours, but appeared content to take a back seat this time around and let her husky voice and classical playing doing the talking. My Eyes ended the set as an opportunity for Fraites to deliver an audacious piano outro. The wait for an encore was short to non-existent with percussion led Submarines being a high of the evening and Stubborn Love a fitting closer. It’s a long way from open mic nights is Denver, but The Lumineers sure are good at this playing live thing.