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The Lumineers - Shepherds Bush Empire, London – 20th February 2013 (Live Review)

Friday, 22 February 2013 Written by Katie Territt

Denver-based folk rockers, The Lumineers, have come from nowhere to make their name as one of the biggest new bands in both the UK and the US. Debut single ‘Ho Hey’ helped to catapult the band into the mainstream and has been doing the rounds on adverts, movie trailers, and in TV shows, not to mention the regular plays on the radio – basically, you can’t get away from it! The success of the single and self-titled debut album, plus a performance and nominations at this years Grammys has lead to the band currently enjoying a hugely in-demand sold out tour.

ImageTheir first London stop was a packed out Shepherds Bush Empire; every seat taken, every space filled and every face expectant. After a great support slot from American alternative country singer, Langhorne Slim, The Lumineers took to the stage to rapturous applause.

Launching straight into album track ‘Charlie Boy’, it was clear that the crowd would be singing every word of every song back to the band – and they did with fervour! The first huge reaction from the crowd came for track ‘Classy Girls’, with the gathered fans singing the chorus loudly and with passion - “classy girls don’t kiss in bars, you fools” ...so true, eh ladies?

The biggest highlight of the first half of the set, and quite possibly the entire show, was the first (yes, not just one) performance of huge hit, ‘Ho Hey’. The full band joined the crowd on the balcony and performed unplugged with two provisos – that nobody film them and everyone “shut the hell up” – both were resoundingly ignored as a mass sing-a-long ensued, downstairs taking on the “Ho” and upstairs taking on the “Hey”.

Every track on The Lumineers’ debut was given an outing, with particular stand-outs from ‘Submarines’, ‘Slow It Down’ and ‘Dead Sea’ - each one sung back to the band as if they were classics that had been around for years. During the less up-tempo numbers, you could feel a hush fall over the crowd as they stopped, listened and drank it all in.

Another highlight of the set was second single ‘Stubborn Love’, a stormer of a song which resulted in a further crowd sing-a-long session, followed by the second round, and a full band version, of ‘Ho Hey’. A gorgeous new song was debuted as part of the set; a duet between lead singer, Wesley and the band’s cello player, Neyla and we even got a Bob Dylan cover; some of the more obvious music enthusiasts in the crowd singing along to ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’.

With bands such as Mumford and Sons paving the way for alternative-folk style bands, The Lumineers have come along at the right time. Music fans are enjoying these slices of easy listening, honest and real music. Simple melodies, heartfelt lyrics and fantastic musicianship are staples for The Lumineers, and the live experience highlights it even more. Lead singer, Wesley Schultz oozes passion, and his gritty yet honed vocals were nothing but flawless. The emotion in his voice and performance were truly authentic and although every member of the band is clearly very talented, Wesley absolutely shines amongst them.

The Lumineers are definitely heading for a great career. With their debut album already going gold in various countries and their current tour well and truly sold out, they’ve obviously earned themselves a huge fan base. I fully admit to not owning the album before the gig, but I’ve already been out and bought it since. If they keep putting on live shows like they did at Shepherds Bush, their already glittering career is going to grow and grow. Anyone with a ticket to their two sold out Brixton shows next month is very lucky indeed!

Due to illness, The Lumineers have been forced to cancel tonight's Bristol show. The band hope to continue their current UK tour in Birmingham on Saturday 23rd February.

The Lumineers UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri February 22nd 2013 - O2 Academy Bristol, Bristol - CANCELLED
Sat February 23rd 2013 - The Institute, Birmingham
Sun February 24th 2013 - Brighton Concorde 2, Brighton
Mon March 11th 2013 - O2 Academy Brixton, London
Tue March 12th 2013 - O2 Academy Brixton, London
Thu November 21st 2013 - The O2 Dublin, Dublin

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