Upon walking into the auditorium that is D.A.R. Constitution Hall and seeing, among the requisite instruments & equipment, old thrift store Pinterest-worthy bureaus and a coat & hat stand (complete with fedora) I thought "Please, no." The very white and couple-y crowd did nothing to assuage my fears. But after the forgettable (and obligingly awkward) opening act, out came the entirely lovable Lumineers.
Opening with the catchy "Submarines," they jumped right in & started playing some of the songs of their self-titled debut from April of last year - currently Number 2 on the Billboard 200, and still climbing after 43 weeks on the chart. Fedora firmly on head, Wesley Schultz plays an energetic & engaging guitar, with Jeremiah Fraites on drums and the talented multi-instrumentalist Neyla Pekarek on cello, mandolin and a host of other instruments.
Two songs in, they asked the audience to put away their phones and "be here now," which was a lovely idea until they walked into the audience - climbing through the boxes, over the entryways - to sing their hit "Ho Hey" a cappella from the back of the room. Now, I love a good a cappella audience sing-a-long as much as the next girl, but good luck getting those camera phones down when you're right next to us. Still, A for effort. The real genius of this move - usually reserved for the end of sets or the encore - was it got everybody up, standing & clapping early on; quite a feat at this usually demure seated venue.
The energy level remained accordingly high for the rest of the show - most of the audience standing, clapping & dancing (guilty) as they played through the rest of their set. Even through the ballads "Dead Sea" and the best version of "Slow It Down" I've heard yet, there was dancing, shouting & audience interaction. They even re-played "Ho Hey" (milk that single, guys) with as much fervor as the first time, and the audience adored it.
The Lumineers have found the sweet spot between the sounding-like-the-album and the 20-minute-improvisational-solo approaches to live music. You can still sing along to your favorites, but it's also new & interesting & did he just change "electric" to "acoustic" in that song?
Even in a large stadium-like venue, it feels like you're watching a great house show (I get the coat stand & all it's just a bit ... literal). If they can get that much energy from a D.A.R. crowd, their show at Merriweather Post Pavillion July 26 is a definite must-see.