The Lumineers at The Tower Theater

Ok so this post is kind of cheating since technically what I’m writing about happened on the last day of January and not in February, but it’s still making me happy 2 days later so it counts in my book.

I first wrote about The Lumineers on this blog back in April of 2012. Then in July I lamented about how my every attempt to see them live was being thwarted. Last night their continued attempts to evade me finally failed and I was able to see them in concert at The Tower Theater in Philadelphia (well technically Upper Darby, PA, but whatever). I swear The Lumineers really are trying to prevent me from seeing them live though. They just announced a show at Merriweather Post Pavilion in July, but it happens to be the same weekend I will be in Rhode Island for The Newport Folk Festival. I was super excited thinking about getting to see them this summer until I put the dates together and realized they were once again playing when I would be unable to see them. I was cheered by the fact that I already had tickets to this concert though. However, they tried to sneak away from me for this one too, but I wouldn’t let them. When I bought the tickets the concert was scheduled for Saturday, February 9. No problem at all to go up to Philly on Saturday and see a concert. I got the tickets then made plans with my friend Erin who lives up there to come visit and see the concert together. Then at the beginning of January I get this email telling me the concert had been rescheduled to Thursday, January 31. That caused some major headaches for me. First I had to decide whether I even wanted to try and get up to Philly on Thursday night then turning around and coming back first thing Friday to get to work. Second, unless I request off I usually am scheduled to work on Thursday nights. Last night was no exception so it involved going around to several of my coworkers asking them to trade shifts with me in order to even make it happen. Luckily I found someone to take my shift and I was free to make the slightly insane trip.

I headed up to Philly after work and met Erin for dinner at a sushi restaurant. We had a little bit of time to kill after dinner so wandered over to the public library where I put on my librarian hat to help her pick out a couple of books. Then we finally headed over to The Tower Theater for the sold out concert.

The opening act was a band from Portland, Oregon called Y La Bamba. I was not familiar with them prior to their set, and though their music wasn’t bad to listen to for an hour it also wasn’t something I plan on seeking out in the future. A lot of it had a very Spanish influence, which I’m not keen on. Though I did really like a couple of their songs, as a whole though they aren’t my thing even though they’re a good band.

As for The Lumineers themselves, they were fantastic. One of the things that most attracted me to the band when I first heard Ho, Hey about a year ago was that at least to me much of their music feels like they’re just sitting around in a bar jamming on some instruments. Though that doesn’t hold true for everything because lets face it I don’t know anyone who sits around a bar jamming on a cello.  In a lot of ways that’s what the concert felt like too and I loved it. They had the crowd super into the show the entire time. It was more like a giant sing along. I can’t remember the last time I went to a concert where the whole crowd was singing along the entire time. Plus any band that uses clapping and stomping as part of the rhythm section in their songs automatically endears themselves to me.

It was also an interesting concert in a number of ways. First, I’ve never seen a band that doesn’t actually keep the entire band on stage the entire time. I never picked up on it just from listening to their album, but not every band member is involved on every track and when they weren’t playing they would just leave the stage. So sometimes there would be only one or two people up on the stage. It kind of intrigued me.

I have also never been to a concert where a band sang the same song twice during their set. I didn’t mind one little bit though and there was a reason for it. The concert was in an old theater and as I have experienced before when bands play in spaces like that they like to unplug and see how they sound with the great acoustics that happen in spaces like that. Ho, Hey is totally a song that is designed to be sung that way any way, so they unplugged, a couple of the band members jumped down into the crowd, then they played the song with the audience singing along having half of us sing the Hos and half of us sing the Heys. There are some very interesting beats in that song though so the audience was not always singing the verses when they should have been which was kind of amusing. I loved it and would have been entirely fine if that was the only way we got to hear Ho, Hey. However, given that it’s their big hit and many people probably would have left unhappy if that was the only version they got to hear live I am not surprised that The Lumineers decided to play it again all proper like towards the end of the show. I wish I had a video of the acoustic version of the song, but despite all the people I saw taking videos of the show on their phones only one person seems to have loaded any of them up on YouTube at this point and he or she just posted the regular version of the song.

Instead I’m going to link to the video of them playing Stubborn Love (sorry for the bad cell phone quality video), which was my favorite song of the evening. I spent the whole of that song being played with a giant grin on my face. In fact if they had just come out and played that song on repeat for an hour I probably would have been happy.

It was a kind of short set which is to be expected from a band that has only one album out. They played for about an hour and fifteen minutes playing all the songs from their album, a new song they’re working on, plus a couple of covers one from Bob Dylan and one from The Talking Heads. All in all it was a wonderful concert and it makes me even sadder that I won’t be able to see them when they’re near me in July. If they’re in your neck of the woods any time soon I highly recommend going to see them.

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