“More people were turned away than showed up for us the entire year prior,” exclaimed Lumineers multi-instrumentalist Stelth Ulvang. That is a big statement loaded with meaning. Clearly, the massive line that swelled out to route 146 left much to talk about. The fans, like the cold rain, poured into the parking lot of a shopping plaza, home to Upstate Concert Hall (formerly known as Northern Lights) in Clifton Park in hopes of achieving free entry into the WEQX radio sponsored show. Sadly, more than a few hundred were turned away as the hall reached capacity within minutes of opening.
The Lumineers – adding more meaning to the above statement – deeply appreciated the show of fans and stepped out to a soggy parking lot instruments in hand. They attempted to play a few acoustic songs, but adding insult to injury towards the fans left in the rain, the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department effectively and quickly shut the band down.
In the last couple years, the roots revival has given us the likes of Mumford and Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show and The Avett Brothers, so it comes as no surprise that folk-flavored music has hit a chord within the masses. The Lumineers have been thrust into popularity showing off stomp and clap roots rock while creating their own distinct identity.
Neyla Pekarek pulls her bow across the somber strings of her cello creating depth to a captivating intro of “Classy Girls,” an otherwise fun and lyrically playful tune. Lead Wesley Schultz dug his feet into the stage as if anchored in his roots yet raising his guitar into the air as if the momentum of the music pulls him in two different directions. The first handful of songs passed along quickly, including the band’s single, “Ho Hey,” utilizing the support of Ulvang and bass player Ben Wahamaki. The core trio of Schultz, Pekarek and Jeremiah Fraites (drums) played a haunting “Charlie Boy.” Schultz’s edgy vocals gradually intensified during the first few verses of “Stubborn Love.” He peaked at the lyrics, “It’s better to feel pain/than nothing at all/The opposite of love’s indifference,” seizing his own words as if he was feeling the pain of a lost love in that very moment. The crowd was to the hilt. The execution of each song was done with passion, but a new untitled song charmed the crowd in a Pekarek/Schultz duet.
The Lumineers had fun with their music. They alternated instruments, at some moments playing acoustic and at other times, electric. They engaged the crowd, queuing them to clap or sing along making a concerted effort to be just a little bit different from their self-titled debut album. Closing the set with “Flapper Girl”, it would seem the charisma of The Lumineers transformed Upstate Concert Hall into a speak-easy with a modern twist; they encored with the Talking Heads’, “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody).”
Photos by Thomas Miller