The Lumineers – Powerstation: November 11, 2022

The Lumineers’ reputation of being one of the leaders of Americana over the last decade resulted in a sold-out show at the Powerstation.

Large young female presence added to the sound inside the humid sweat lodge tonight, as the audience sang along to many of the songs.

They were also there for pretty boy lead vocalist and founder Wesley Schultz, long hair and beard along with an iconic Seventies Dylan hat. I still have mine, dusty as it is.

Jeremiah Fraites on drums is the other founder. He eerily looks like Woody Harrelson. Started playing as a rough-and-tumble duo in New Jersey. The band became fully formed in Denver, Colorado around 2009. Weed, whites and wine? Two out of three I’d be Willin’ to bet.

The rest. Stelth Ulvang multi-instrumentalist and scaler of the walls. Lauren Jacobson fiddle, Byron Isaacs bass and Brandon Miller guitars and mandolin.

They open with the title song of their newest album, Brightside. Followed immediately by the title song off the great Cleopatra album. Rough country stomp with the fiddle contributing an essential element of swing. Tom Petty influences to the fore.

Ho Hey was one of their massive hits. They bring through the flavour of Southern roots country.

There is an unmistakable influence of Springsteen in Schultz’s voice. He tends to bellow and yell in the higher register. That puts both in the tradition of the great R’n’B shouters of the past. Both Jersey boys, after all.

They have a song called Donna. Tip the hat to Richie Valens, but they’re singing about strangers at truck stops in Noo Joisey.

One called Gloria which starts with a huge arse kick from the drums before laying into americana with some Southern white boogie. Van the Man called his one Irish soul. Most American roots music is Celtic Irish in origin.

Ophelia clearly has New Orleans as its dominant rhythmic influence.

They could be the new Creedence Clearwater Revival. They are certainly treading a similar path to the Band. Their raucous side, as they were when backing Dylan. They don’t clutter the music like Mumford and Sons tend to. They keep it more streamlined and economical like the Blasters. They are a blast.

Hollow Coves

These Coves are folk duo Ryan Henderson and Matt Carins from the Gold Coast of Australia. They play electric and acoustic guitar, and their close harmony singing cannot help but draw comparison to Simon and Garfunkel. In current times, probably the Milk Carton Kids.

The room is close to capacity as they come on. It is to their credit that they can cut through in the noisy atmosphere.

Their short opening set is melodic pastoral folk. A nice harmonica intro leads into a song about the wide ocean. Down by the water take me home. A dreamy reverie can still bring peace in a noisy venue.

Of course, sweaty Stryians sinking schooners and swearing would make this ambience second nature to them.  

They do a cover of James Bay’s Hold Back the River. Electric jangle guitar begins. Gospel folk as the quiet duet vocals get passionate. Let us hold each other/ Lonely water won’t you let us wander. The audience joins in.

They close with a song called Coastline. People have heard the title as Toastland in Australia, and Holocaust in Germany. It is folk with different layers, quiet and reflective. It also echoes the vast open land of a big country.

The Lumineers

They do a Radio song and throw their hat in the ring for that tradition. Van Morrison, the Blasters, the Carter Family, the Modern Lovers, Sam Cooke et al.

AM Radio is standing on the corner listening to the radio. AM dates it before the rise of AOR. Adult Orientated Rock was coined with the rise of FM. Country americana full of white soul or gospel.

Flowers in Your Hair, off their debut album, has an accordion accompanied by a single snare drum. A swinging barn stomper.

Angela is distinguished with some swamp guitar tones.

Dead Sea and Schultz manages to combine Petty and Spruce in his voice.    

It Wasn’t Easy to be Happy for You. Higher register vocal yells and country is man-handled into rock’n’roll.  

Submarines is led by military drum accents which corral the hostilities in the music which follows.

Alice Cooper has commented that he regards it… an offense to call these acts rock bands. Jack White has taken the opposite view.

Leader of the Landslide starts with country folk elements but works its way through to incorporate the Rolling Stones You Can’t Always Get What You Want. That’s a great statement of intent from the group to try and settle the issue.

The Lumineers are riding that Mystery train, sixteen coaches long and the radio is tuned in. The train conductor may be wearing black. The show rolled through Auckland tonight and americana is in great shape.

Rev Orange Peel

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Ivan Karczewski:

The Lumineers:

Hollow Coves: