I am ashamed to admit that before the recent Lumineers show in Cape Town I was not familiar with the group's music. Apart from "that" one song, I wouldn't recognize them even if I tried. O how much I have missed out on!
The 5 piece made their triumphant return to the mother city and pulled out all the stops. A downpour of note had many mourning over a possibly canceled show but, praise be, as skies cleared up just in time for a night of epic entertainment.
Youngsters, Early Hours and Opposite the Other, where the winners of the 5FM poll deciding the lucky groups that would have the privilege to open the evening. Early Hours just returned from Canada and certainly learned a thing or two as performers. They delivered an energetic set but their music is still very young and not very honest. It is an easy copy of what bands like Gangs of Ballet or Coldplay have been doing for many years. Opposite the other outdid themselves with their show and added unexpected elements that kept the anxious audience's attention. Reshuffling the band halfway through was a brilliant gimmick and I hope it serves them well for a long time to come. Yet, I ofter found myself asking: "Didn't they JUST play this song?". It is still early days for both these groups but Opposite the Other is definitely someone to keep our eyes on.
As suspense built in the air the energy became palpable. Suffice to say the crowd exploded as the band of the hour made their way onto the stage. Large steel structured suspended in mid air created a magical backdrop for the even more magical music to come. Each track flew by faster and faster and with only 2 full length albums under their belt I couldn't fathom how they could keep going much longer at that rate. The addition of a classic CCR cover made a welcome addition and had the crowd in stitches at it's sheer irony (because boy, have we EVER seen the rain that day!). Suddenly, as if by magic, the whole band teleported to the middle of the crowd. A second stage brought the fans even closer to the beloved members to experience the tunes in full 4D.
Frontman Wesley Schultz delivered a raw and emotional performance and captured the audience with personal tales. He poured his heart out with songs like "Gun Song" that relates back to his struggle processing his father's death. Other standout tracks include "Ophelia" and "Sleep on the Floor".
I was constantly in awe of the diversity that awaited around every corner. Neyla Pekarek on the cello (and backing vocals) captured my attention with her dreamy addition to the flow of it all. Stelth Ulvang might just have been the MVP. With his over the top anticshe cept the energy going from the very first beat.
I am officially a convert. Been there, done that, bought the vinyl. And listened to it over and over and over.