The Lumineers are one of those up and coming bands that I was introduced to by KEXP’s John in the Morning and by the Next Music show podcast. The band hails from Denver but their rustic tones give them a sound from further south and they are currently on tour supporting their self-titled debut album. When the band came through Connecticut, they chose to perform at the intimate StageOne venue in Fairfield, which holds about 225 people seated on risers around the stage. It isn’t as cozy as The Space in Hamden, and not as grand as Ridgefield Playhouse, but the tiers make it so there is not a bad seat in the house. However, this did keep people from stomping and swaying along to the tunes.
Midway into the third song of the night, “Big Parade”, lead singer Wesley Schultz paused to ask if Connecticut was ready for them, before diving back into the boisterous song. Clapping ensued, the most motion that people could spare from their seats. The roots connection continued with the kick-drum stomp of “Flowers in Your Hair” before the band jumped into one of their current singles “Ho Hey”, which was dedicated to a band member’s grandmother in the audience. Though from Denver now, Schultz is originally from a New York City suburb in New Jersey – which is probably why the song has the lyrics “been standing on Canal / and Bowery”). Another uptempo song followed in the form of Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues” before transitioning to the slower “Gun Song”, a non-album track.
A few songs later, Schultz told the story of how the bands’ instruments were stolen in September but a lot of people chipped in to help the band buy up new instruments. Schultz explained the meaning of the lyrics “smashed in my car window / didn’t touch the stereo” in “Slow it Down”, as “you can take our instruments but you can’t stop this music”. The song’s defiant lyrics were also represented in the music; the quiet beginning built into a larger to opus.
Before their other big song, “Stubborn Love”, just before a short break, the band asked the audience to sing along and taught them the lyrics, “keep your head up / keep your love”. Excited to share in the experience, the audience eagerly rose up, clapping and singing along to this number.
When the band returned, the offered up two more songs, before lingered in the lobby to meet with fans and sign some autographs. The final song was another cover, this time of The Band’s “The Weight”, in tribute to Levon Helm who had passed away earlier that same day. This is a song I imagine The Lumineers already knew as The Band’s roots-rock must have given them some inspiration. But it was a fitting way to close out the night as the audience rose up and joined in their voices once more.
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Ain’t Nobody’s Problem but My Own
Flowers in Your Hair
Subterranean Homesick Blues (Dylan Cover)
The Gun Song
Slow it Down
The Weight (The Band Cover)