I am a true believer that music can change your mood for the better, and that’s exactly what happened this past Tuesday when I saw The Lumineers at Villan’s in Chicago. I was having “one of those days” when I received an email that said The Lumineers, were in Chicago for one night only. Having never given them a listen, I vowed to myself I would only go check them out if they had “it,” something that would shake me from my funk. I checked out their song “Ho Hey” and within the opening lines “(Ho!) I've been trying to do it right, (Hey!) I've been living a lonely life” I was hooked and knew I would be seeing these guys later that night.
Now Villian’s, a bar/restaurant, was not somewhere I had ever thought to see a show, but appreciated their attempt to make it work. During the opening acts, the sound was noticeably off, not due to the bands themselves, but what appeared to be a problem PA system. The crowd had also taken notice and a couple music industry type folk made it a point to talk to the sound guy, a term I use loosely since it appeared to be one of his first times working here. Once some tables were moved and space was cleared in front of the make shift stage, I was able to get in a location where the sound wasn’t too bad.
The Lumineers, hailing from Denver, Colorado, took the stage and my night instantly became much better. An obvious comparison to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros I feel is going to follow this band, but after the initial comparison it can be seen that this outfit is so much more. There is a country familiarity that brought to mind Langhorne Slim a favorite of mine. During the set apparently the sound issues were not only on our end, but also on the feedback that the band was getting on stage, it was non existent. Taking the matter into their own hands the band joined the crowd and played a couple songs on our level. Luckily those not there for the show were kind enough to stay silent through the songs to make it actually possible to hear. Their purely acoustic “Juliet” was aided by a crowd member holding the ever important glockenspiel. An accordion was being played from atop a booth hoovering above the crowd. Stomping and clapping ensued as this band showed their talent as musicians and adaptability to any given situation.