The Lumineers Brightside Tour at the Enmarket Arena
The Lumineers, one of the biggest bands in folk rock and Americana, make a stop at Enmarket Arena on their nine-week Brightside World Tour.
“It’s like we’re making up for lost time,” vocalist Wesley Schultz said of the Lumineers’ return to the stage. “We finally got back to it and it’s good to be busy. Not to sound cliché, but it’s definitely true, shows have never felt so good, to play music again. The outpouring of tears, laughter and cries. There are all these emotions that I think have been stored and they come out in these shows.
The Lumineers are the duo of Wesley Schultz (vocals, guitar) and Jeremiah Fraites (drums, percussion), who spent years in the open mic circuit until their singing hit, “Ho, Hey” propelled them to the foreground. of the Americana explosion of the 2010s.
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Their 2012 self-titled debut album went multi-platinum and was nominated for Best New Artist and Best US Grammy.
The Lumineers are known for their moving live shows, and much of their success comes from how well they are able to translate their songs from album to stage with the help of a six-piece touring band. .
“We’re definitely working on the dynamics, but we think that’s true for our albums,” Schultz said. “I hope on the record it’s dynamic as hell and then you can really expose that at a live show. Sometimes the blanks, the silences, the quieter moments make the most all the more satisfying.
“What surprised me about some shows is that you can create a whole universe. For us, we’ve always joked that our fastest song is most people’s average song, but in the context of the show, something can feel fast. When we set the tone and they’re used to it being a certain way and we change it, that way, I think the dynamic is key .
The follow-up to the Lumineers’ hit debut album was the smash hit “Cleopatra” (2016) which had a more melancholic cinematic reach and featured the hit single “Ophelia”. Their third album, “III” (2019), was a gorgeous but moody concept album that ruminated on addiction and its ramifications – very different from the crowd-pleasing early fans.
Their latest album, “Brightside” (2022) is the product of writing and recording during the uncertain times of the pandemic. As a result, “Brightside” allowed the Lumineers to take a looser, low-stakes approach to making a record.
“It was more relaxed than the other albums,” Schultz said. “When we were going into the studio trying to record a song or two, my wife was about to have our second child, a baby girl who was born in the middle of it all. We were recording for a few weeks right before that. , and then the approach was, ‘Hey, we still don’t know what’s going on. We don’t know what’s going on with touring. Let’s just see if we can get a head start on the next record. Expectations were really weak, which was a good thing. It made us feel really free instead of ‘Time to make a record.’
“For lack of a better word, it got more fun. Sit there like kids and explore those ideas and turn them into a record. I never experienced that, so it was very different from the previous three.
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The joy Schultz and Fraites felt in making “Brightside” is palpable on the record. Even on slower, darker songs like “ROLLERCOASTER,” there’s an uplifting quality that hasn’t been as prominent on a Lumineers album since their debut. Due to the more natural approach to recording, Schultz’s voice effortlessly evokes the feelings he is trying to convey to his listeners.
“Everything felt like warp speed,” Schultz recalls. “It was fast and loose, and it was curious. A lot of performances, because of the decision not to scrutinize every song and every part too much, the result was that you had much livelier performances because it wasn’t memorized, it wasn’t memorized. You weren’t even sure of the following lyrics or if you had the right melody. That kind of stuff, you get a certain electricity from that kind of performance. For example, on our first album, we had played these songs hundreds of times at the time of recording. Naturally, you’re going to get a different kind of performance than you would have had if you just came up with the idea the day or night before and then tried it out on the microphone.
Despite their huge success, the Lumineers remain as humble as when they played open mic nights in New York and Denver, Colorado years ago. Oddly, “The Lumineers” wasn’t even their name to begin with. Schultz and Fraites used to perform using their own names, but a strange occurrence during one of their shows inadvertently gave them the name The Lumineers.
“To date, I’ve been into many open mics over the years and have never experienced an open mic like this,” Schultz said.
While performing at an open mic at the Lucky 7 Tavern in Jersey City, the venue’s MC got the timing wrong and introduced Schultz and Fraites as the Lumineers, a different band that was scheduled to perform the following week. The duo later found out that the original Lumineers had disbanded, so they took the name for themselves. The new name inspired Schultz and Fraites to achieve an ambitious sound that was bigger than both of them.
“We always liked the idea of it being a band bigger than us, than the name of one of us,” Schultz explained. “That was when we felt like we were trying to make something unrecognizable if just one of us did something. We were really trying to capture that spirit.
Even with a big band on tour and millions in album sales, The Lumineers are still just two guys writing songs together.
“I wear it as a badge of honor because I think a lot of people outsource their writing,” Schultz said. “I like that we keep it in-house and all you hear is us and not someone you hired to write a hit for you.
“We joke that we’re like the food cart that got a Michelin star. It doesn’t really make sense, but we’re two guys who ended up playing at Wrigley Field, places we never thought we’d play because we started playing in the lounges and cafes and bars of people.
Schultz wrote “Ho, Hey” in 2008 in a Brooklyn apartment. By 2012, bands like Mumford & Sons, Avett Brothers, and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros were taking revivalist folk rock to the top of the charts, stoking listeners’ tastes for the kind of songs the Lumineers had written. Fortunately, the Lumineers were prepared for the turbulence that comes with sudden success.
“We felt like visitors to the World Top 40,” Schultz said. “It didn’t really seem reliable or real. It was just a flavor of the month where you’re weirdly objectified for this thing. You can leverage that to get people to listen to your whole record, or you can forever be known as that band that did that thing once, and that’s the part where some people get chewed up and spit out. It was useful to have a little age on me.
“We didn’t sign until we were thirty. I always took it like nothing had happened for ten years. I took that as an indictment. It turned out to be quite useful because we were able to do a lot of mediocre or bad music in camera. By the time we had a spotlight on us, we knew a little more about what our music was going to sound like and who we were as a people, and we had been playing more than when we were twenty. That way, what seemed like a bad thing was actually our biggest advantage because we had ground down.
“Here we are ten years later and it’s a good feeling that we’re playing ‘Ho, Hey’ third in the setlist and no one is leaving or heading for the exit after that part of the set.”
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
What: The Lumineers
When: Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Enmarket Arena, 620 Stiles Ave.
Cost: $69 and up