Review: The Lumineers at Metro City, 22 April 2017
Like a pack of blood-tinged sparrows, The Hunting Birds sought out the expansive nest that was Metro City. Through their boundless enthusiasm they captivated the audience, lead singer Connor Minervini seemingly never still as he bopped around the stage. New single Burn This House Down was exceptional; a dark, grungy change from the relatively upbeat From the Ashes. It’s a fine bit of alt-country that’s less ‘picturesque homestead’ and more ‘abandoned farmhouse’ in tone. Here, vocalist and keyboardist Kendra Fewster took the lead, her powerful tone smoothly complementing Minervini’s slick edge. The two have a deep synergy with one another, playing off their bandmates’ electric vibe. Building to a feverish crescendo, everything locked into place, the edging guitar and thumping bass cutting abruptly with the final clipped cry of “I’ll burn this house down to the-“.
Listening to The Money War is like being transported to a psychedelic landscape dominated by red pants-clad sirens and white-coated guitarists. The stylish pair of Dylan Ollivierre and Carmen Pepper seemed cool, calm and collected as they ensnared the audience in their web of sound. Give it Time showed the band know how to get into a groove and ride it out, Ollivierre’s fine-tuned lyricisms and mellow guitar licks lolling alongside Pepper’s dreamlike voice like a languid river. Recall was a cheeky, upbeat number, fuzzy guitar setting the scene for Ollivierre, as he intoned “Where do you go when you fall asleep/Might as well borrow someone else’s dream”. Crafty lyrics and a doting attention to detail allowed this dream team to soar to crisp heights of equal parts soothing and blazing indie pop.
The Lumineers were, in a word, luminous. Not only were the quintet personable, they gave the crowd exactly what they wanted – and much more.
The peak of this tender love and care was an unplugged rendition of Ho Hey. Mercifully, those gathered obeyed the band’s calls (and gestures) for silence, as they came forward, away from the lure of the microphones, to let their unenhanced voices carry through the venue. At one point, like a musical messiah, lead singer Wesley Schultz took the time to walk amongst the audience; a true people’s champion.
The standout of a slew of deeply personal tracks was Charlie Boy. This emotionally-loaded piece centred around Schultz’s uncle, who, enraptured by a speech from President Kennedy, volunteered for the Vietnam War. Here, delicate fingerpicking was accompanied by Schultz’s ragged, vulnerable voice.
A rousing rendition of Stubborn Love rounded out the proceedings, the band crying out as the crowd responded in kind. A slow burn of measured guitar gradually swelled to become an outpouring of affection, given and received by both onlookers and band. The intimate affair was capped off by the motley crew hugging one another, before throwing paper airplanes to their fans. As if to mirror the audience’s journey, these aircraft soared towards a deeply profound destination.