The Lumineers: Ryman Auditorium / Nashville TN / October 14, 2013

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I’m tired of the Lumineers and all the hoopla surrounding them.  Even the Nashville TV show is hawking them by having its character Avery Barkley whine about wanting the opening slot for an upcoming Lumineers show.  While they sing happy, fun songs and don’t play all that bad, there’s really nothing special about them or their music. And, especially to be playing three consecutive sold-out shows at the Mother Church—a rare feat last done by their genre-buddies, the Mumfords. The Lumineers are simply the latest to join today’s can’t-miss brotherhood of bands playing stripped-down, rootsy folk music.

These youngsters from New Jersey and Colorado play and sing well, and a Lumineers concert is a joyful sing-along for everyone. Looking over the mostly young, hipster crowd, you would have thought they were hearing a catalog as popular as The Beatles by the way they seemed to know every word to every song.  And, speaking of hipsters, the band certainly dressed the part looking like they stepped right out of East Nashville. Throughout the night, we all had to deal with lead singer Wesley Schultz’s hipster hat continually falling off!

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My own hat goes off to these guys, nonetheless, for creating such a lively and crowd-pleasing combo:  simple songs in a plain, simple style. They got a little carried away, however, with the old timey, over-done pretense of the stage setting. Chandeliers on stage at the Ryman—give me a break!

The Lumineers came into town still riding on the success of their lone effort: a debut album which dates back to April 2012. This night, we heard this entire recording including two of the three original bonus songs on its deluxe edition. To this repertoire they added Dylan and Talking Heads covers plus one new original. The Dylan selection was a strange off-tempo work-up of “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” which is better left to its original rapid-fire delivery.

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One special surprise that got them some genre cred was a guest appearance by Old Crow’s Ketch Secor on fiddle early on in the set for a few numbers. Like everyone does at the Ryman, they also did the singing off mike thing for two numbers including “Classy Girls,” perhaps their second biggest number behind the song that made them popular, “Ho Hey,” which they did four songs in.

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Perhaps one day soon, this trend of just about every rootsy, folksy band making it big will come to an end. I still stand firmly declaring that the Avetts and Old Crow rule this space. (And, I’d yank Marcus Mumford’s vest while telling him so!) Like a musician friend of mine recently told me, this genre is like the new Ska. Like the popularity of that now by-gone genre, it, too, will have its reality check.  Only the strong will survive. When that happens, I just don’t see The Lumineers playing three nights at the Ryman.

SETLIST:

  1. Submarines
  2. Ain’t Nobody’s Problem
  3. Flowers in Your Hair
  4. Ho Hey
  5. Subterranean Homesick Blues (Bob Dylan cover)
  6. Dead Sea
  7. Slow It Down
  8. Duet (new song)
  9. Charlie Boy
  10. Darlene (off mike)
  11. Classy Girls (off mike)
  12. Flapper Girl
  13. Big Parade
  14. Morning Song
  15. This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) (Talking Heads cover)
  16. Stubborn Love

BAND:

Wesley Schultz—Lead Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Jeremiah Fraites—Drums, Percussion, Mandolin and Backing Vocals
Neyla Pekarek—Cello and Backing Vocals
Stelth Ulvang—Piano, Mandolin, Accordion, Guitar and Backing Vocals
Ben Wahamaki—Bass

Special Guest:
Ketch Secor—Fiddle

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