Live Review: The Lumineers at House of Blues San Diego, September 29, 2012

Photo credit: Sachyn Mital

Ladies, grab your lace dresses, and gentlemen, put on your bowler hats.

In yet another episode of “Little House on the Prairie” rock, buzz band The Lumineers played to a warm and toasty sold-out crowd on Saturday at the House of Blues. The Denver band, comprised of members Wesley Schultz, Jeremiah Fraites, Neyla Pekarek, and a couple other touring members, released their self-titled debut album on April 3, and thanks to Paste Magazine, yielded one of the summer’s big alternative hits with “Ho Hey.”

The Americana artists started their set playing to a quite talkative crowd, but with their rousing singalongs and barnstorming, managed to drown it out. Highlights of the set included the hand-clapping “Classy Girls,” which draws on The Avett Brothers and The Alternate Routes. The song, with the lyric “Classy girls don’t kiss in bars like this” is one of the best on The Lumineers; it’s unassumingly poignant, but also says a lot more than what is on the surface.

The Lumineers also played the piano gem “Submarines,” “Slow it Down,” and, of course, “Ho Hey.” “Slow It Down,” appropriately, was part of a slowed-down portion of the night, with Wesley Schultz solo on stage amid minimal lighting. “Tie up your scarf real tight, these boys are out for blood tonight,” was one of the most sincere lyrics sung on stage.

The band played their hit “Ho Hey” about halfway through the set. Much to the surprise and happiness of those there for more than just one song, the audience stayed put for the rest of the set. The band also covered fellow Denver musician Sawmill Joe’s rousing bar song “Ain’t Nobody’s Problem (But My Own).”

“Stubborn Love” ended the pre-encore set. The song reignited the jubilant atmosphere with its chorus “Keep your head up, my love,” followed by a melodic kick drum and cello. It had the whole crowd dancing, including a six-year-old fan who knew every lyric.

The only odd moment of the night was the ending sequence of songs, with the transition into the encore being slightly out-of-place. The set ended on such an empowering note that, when Schultz returned on stage to perform solo, it was hard to return to the mellow state of “Slow it Down.”

The overall show itself satisfied all the needs for Americana elation, foot stomping, and dancing, and made for a great Saturday night.

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