The Lumineers session at last. In my review of their debut album, I made the following comment:
Music was a catharsis to Wes and Jer after losing a loved one, but the album and every one of their performances feels like a celebration – often in spite of the lyrics. The Lumineers are a reminder that even when love or a loved one is lost, or if we’re hopeless or filled with regret, it’s always great to be alive. And life is worth celebrating.
It’s often difficult to gain a true appreciation for a band until seeing them perform live. I had the chance to see them with fresh legs at our party at SxSW, just as they kicked their tour into full gear, and then again in Kansas City – their last stop on tour. They took the stage that night in KC through an alley door straight out of their van. The band looked road weary to say the least. Lead singer Wesley Schulz stretched his arms across his body like he was warming up for a ballgame. Neyla Pekarek took a few long, deep breaths. Jeremiah Fraites strolled in with his hat and suspenders, smiling like always but with tired eyes. They looked like a band in recovery after being shot out of a cannon – and for good reason.
As I waited for their set to begin in this sold out room, I asked the woman next to me how she heard about the band. Her response: “I heard them on Alice 102.1″ My response: “As in FM radio?” Indeed. The Lumineers have a hit song (Ho Hey) on mainstream radio. It was their first time ever playing in KC (not an easy indie music market) and they sold out the room. They’ve made it.
I turned to the stage and saw the band all shake hands with one another and with the first note, all the tired eyes were washed away in smiles and melodies. They played their brand of folk-rock with the same enthusiasm, smiles and sincerity that catches like contagion and turns the casual or curious fans into die hards.
If you haven’t had the experience yet, hopefully this session gives you a sense for the magic that is The Lumineers. If you don’t own the album yet, hopefully you’re inspired to pick up one of the best albums of the year. Truly an honor to have this band in for a session at Shirk Music + Sound in Chicago and a big thanks to Yuriy Chernin and Steve Shirk for the incredible videography and sweet sounds. Hope y’all enjoy.