At points, last night at the Hotel Cafe seemed akin to a raucous hoedown with all the enthusiastic clapping, group dancing, interactive sing-alongs, and people that just couldn’t stop smiling. The packed crowd seemed wholly transformed by what was going on around them. Even the usual chit chat in the back of the room was silenced. The cause of such a scene was a band identified by the kick drum resting on the edge of the stage that read “The Lumineers.”
The Lumineers are a Denver-based folk rock band composed primarily of Wesley (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Jeremiah (drums), and Neyla (cello, piano, vocals, etc.). They are in the same vein as other LMN favorites like Aunt Martha, The Head and The Heart, and Mumford & Sons. Prior to last night, I had not heard of The Lumineers save a friend’s mention on facebook, but that was enough to get me to go early to The Hotel Cafe and check them out. I got increasingly interested during the band’s set up as more and more instruments were piling onto the stage…mandolin, extra kick drum, cello, etc. etc. I was even more intrigued as the buzz of anticipation around me became palpable. So many excited fans itching to see one of their favorite bands perform. It’s not often I see this level of excitement anywhere in Los Angeles. I started to buzz as well.
The band began to play and about two songs into their somewhat lengthy set, as the musicians were hopping about the stage instrument-swapping, I completely understood what all the fuss was about. I immersed myself into the sea of hand clapping/foot stomping revelry. The Lumineers not only delivered on the tunes, both memorable and fun, but they also had the kind of lyrics that really stick with you, simple yet thought-provoking. Their messages ranged from the fun/ny (classy girls are not the ones you’ll be kissing in a bar) to the more serious (the opposite of love is indifference) and the music rang with such truth and sincerity, it would be difficult not to connect to it in some way.
My favorite moment of the set might have been when the entire band got off the stage and went into the audience, busker-style, to incite a massive sing-along for the song “Ho Hey.” Although, I was also quite moved by the song “Slow It Down” which is one of those tunes with lyrical depth that also has some movement, staring slow and then building up to a head nodding climax.
There was a moment of sadness in the set when we were told about the band’s recent misfortune of having some instruments and gear stolen out of their van. But aside from giving the audience extra incentive to buy some merch, the band wanted to make a point to express their joy and gratitude towards all the great people who were able to loan them equipment and instruments on such short notice (they were even able to play the night that the event happened). You could tell they were still a bit freshly scarred, but the spirits were not down and they played on with perhaps even more gusto. The band was even granted a rare and greatly deserved encore opportunity.
For more information on The Lumineers, please check out their webpage. You can get tour dates (they’re currently on a west coast tour, but will be hitting up the east coast in October), links to their social media sites, and information on their stolen instruments (spread the word!) as well as a place where you can leave a donation. This is such a great band, I really hope that they can fully recover from this incident and continue spreading the music love. They certainly have my heart.