The Lumineers Live Review
Brixton Academy, London - 11/03/13
Riding a similar wave of success as fellow foot-stomping banjo pickers Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers have quietly risen to 'big-band' status, with their self-titled debut album going platinum on both sides of the pond, and lead single Ho Hey becoming Spotify's most played track.
On a snowy night in London, and after popping up earlier during support act Langhorne Slim And The Law's set, the Denver folk-rockers took to the stage properly to begin the first of two sold-out nights at the Brixton Academy with a rousing version of Submarines.
The band quickly thawed out the crowd, and managed to hold their attention despite the potentially risky move of playing an unknown cover (I Ain't Nobody's Problem) as their second track.
Album opener Flowers in Your Hair was followed by a cover of Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues, before the band roped in some audience participation for their biggest song, Ho Hey.
That such a stripped down, simple song could captivate the 5000 strong capacity crowd - their biggest ever as headliners - is testament to the band's mastery of their craft and appeal as performers.
Frontman Wesley Schultz's request for people to put down their camera-phones and just enjoy the moment helped create a real space of intimacy despite the size of the venue, allowing the songs - some of which had originally been recorded in Schultz's kitchen - room to breathe.
Co-vocalist and drummer Jeremiah Fraitesand and cellist Neyla Pekarek both took centre stage at various points during the night, with Pekarek duetting with Schultz on an as-yet-unnamed new track, helping reinforce the sense of the band as a whole rather than just Schultz's backing group.
With just the one album under their belts the band's only weakness appeared to be not quite having enough of their own material to fill out a headline set, but a selection of well played covers, including an inspired take on Talking Heads' This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody), meant that none were left feeling short-changed.
As if to prove their hold over the crowd they ended the night with a singalong take on Darling, performed on the edge of the stage without microphones and backed by a glockenspiel, before being rejoined by their support act to perform Violent Femmes' American Music as a rousing finale.
Gavin Cullen @mtvuknews