mon 24/02/2020

The Lumineers, SSE Hydro, Glasgow review - a stomping but exhausting night | reviews, news & interviews

The Lumineers, SSE Hydro, Glasgow review - a stomping but exhausting night

The Lumineers, SSE Hydro, Glasgow review - a stomping but exhausting night

The Denver band were at ease before a large crowd, but offered a familiar sounding set

The Lumineers, taking a break here from stomping their feetDanny Clinch

There was something fitting about the Lumineers entrance in Glasgow. As “Gimme Shelter” blared around the SSE Hydro, lights pulsating over the crowd, it was drummer Jeremiah Fraites who took the stage and started the opening beat of “Sleep On The Floor”, an array of phones quickly whipped out to act as a welcoming committee from the crowd. The rest of the band followed in due course, but this is a group for whom the drums are at the heart of their stomping songs, no matter what.

The other key element is, of course, the voice of Wesley Schultz , an unassuming and laid back frontman, who nevertheless appears to have taken to the role of conductor in chief quite well, guiding the audience along throughout the night and letting his rough-hewn vocals carry the heavy lifting. That was mostly it for a full 90 minutes of sing-a-long, clap-a-long and stamp your feet-a-long slices of super-sized Americana, with the group’s smooth progression through both familiar hits and material from this year’s new releaseIII” showing how assured they are in arenas like the Hydro (albeit a venue where the top tier was taped off).

It is easily digestible stuff, comfort through clapping, and hard to resist at times. The easygoing pop of “Ho Hey” sparked delirium, “Ophelia” was carried along by some terrific piano from Stelth Ulvang and a fierce take on “Cleopatra” provided a dose of intensity.    

Yet if it is easy to respect the Lumineers for their accomplishments then it was harder to truly love the actual performance, even if the crowd there were enthralled by every vocal cry. It was difficult not to feel a sense of the familiar as yet another song progressed towards a clomping bellow of a climax, and there was little satisfaction in that. A cover of Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” followed the same pattern, and although Schultz tried to provide context and backstory to some of the material, with “Gun Song” referencing his father and “Leader of the Landslide”, like all of “III”, rooted in addiction, there was a homogeneity running through the set that drained any emotional heft from it. No matter the situation or inspiration, joyous or heart-breaking, it seemed a safe bet where each song was going to end up.

Fraites is the culprit here, because his drumming dominates the sound so much that on their weaker songs it overwhelms everything else, delivering death by a clattering drumbeat. At such points the mind started to drift elsewhere, and to focusing on a stage set that appeared to resemble a trio of opened clam shells. The two tiered set-up at least gave the group space to manoeuvre about, and there were still moments that caught the ear, and made you wonder if they could push themselves into different directions more often. “The Big Parade”, which closed the regular set with an explosion of confetti, built up into a powerful finale, and the encore’s “Donna” was pared back and led by piano, giving some welcome shade before “Stubborn Love” resumed that well-worn formula. Undeniably effective and crowd-pleasing, but exhausting with it.

There was a homogeneity running through the set that drained any emotional heft from it


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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