A.V. Club Milwaukee – The Lumineers Concert Review
The Lumineers at Riverside Theater
Amidst the roar of cheers, clapping, and sing-a-longs, folk-rock band The Lumineers swiftly made the most of their first Milwaukee performance at the Riverside Theater with a commanding and pitch-perfect hour-long set. Brimming with confidence, the Colorado-based band wasted little time in getting the ball rolling. “Act like you’ve been here before,” sings lead singer Wesley Schultz on the band’s song “Slow It Down”—words that the band certainly lived by during Sunday night’s show.
The Lumineers may appear to be the latest band to stumble onto critical acclaim seemingly overnight, but they easily proved that they’re the real deal. Pulling songs mostly from their self-titled 2012 debut, the band put together a set that featured a diverse and satisfying collection of material. Their simple yet catchy melodies and lyrics helped the crowd forget it was a Sunday night, with songs like breakout single “Ho Hey.” “It doesn’t feel like a Sunday night,” said Schultz midway during the set as the Milwaukee crowd showed its appreciation.
There was certainly some influence from Bob Dylan throughout the night, especially in songs like “Flowers In Your Hair.” The band even played a cover of Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” making the song its own with a lively performance. For the song “Charlie Boy,” band members Jeremiah Fraites and Neyla Pekarek joined Schultz for a satisfying mix of mandolin, cello, and guitar. That was followed by Schultz taking the solo reins on “Slow It Down,” showing the full command of his voice. Midway through the song he was joined by Fraites on tambourine, and the song built up speed. The band built on this momentum with the fascinating waltz of “Elousise,” and two thrilling versions of “Stubborn Love.”
Standing in front of the stage, The Lumineers used the Riverside Theater to full effect as they played an intimate and compelling stripped-down version of “Stubborn Love.” The loud and supportive crowd managed to quiet down enough for the song to have full impact. The band members returned to their spots to perform the song regularly, which also came off great.
The Lumineers then left the stage, but returned to a crowd cheering at full throttle. They responded with a three-song encore—which included their album’s closer, “Morning Song”—that put an exclamation point on the night. At the very end of the show the band brought out opener The Commettes (and invited crowd members to the stage to help sing and play tambourine) to end with a great rendition of The Band’s “The Weight.” It also featured Pekarek on vocals for part of the song—hopefully the band will have her sing more in the future.