At last, the un-Google-able (or un-Bing-able, if you’re so inclined) secret was out: the band playing Fred and Mel’s Secret Thing concert were none other than southern troubadours The Lumineers. The 2013 Edgefest headliners were back in town and more than eager to introduce lucky Toronto listeners to tracks from their upcoming album Cleopatra.
A packed Mod Club Theatre erupted in cheers as the folk stars took the stage and dove straight into new material. Current chart burner “Ophelia” was the first of the big singles to be played, with its rickety, shambling barroom piano promising a few stylistic changes from the band on the new record.
Changes that were subtle, but noticeable. It’s fair to assume that Wesley Schultz and company aren’t going to be bringing out a fleet of synthesizers anytime soon, but it’s clear that an intentional evolution in the band’s sound had occurred and the piano was a central figure in that evolution. The ivories made an appearance in a large portion of the new material, from big-tent power ballads to Springsteen-ish surging anthems like probable future hit “Angela”.
The band’s always played around with multiple rhythms in one song- heck, they switched it up right off the bat way back in 2012 with their monster debut hit “Ho Hey”- but now they’ve become even more experimental. Songs go fast then slow, slow then fast, pause for dramatic poses from the band, then come back with a completely different beat. It’s an adventurous take on “folk rock” and show the band pushing the limits of what the genre can be, yet staying true to form at the same time. The rustic aesthetic still reigns over the act, it’s just infused with fresh new blood now.
The experiments seem to have paid off, as the crowd absolutely loved the new material, not to mention the requisite hits and a Bob Dylan cover. They lost their collective voices singing along to every one of the big tunes and left the venue positively jubilant.
If you missed out, don’t worry The Lumineers are returning to Toronto this summer, July 28th at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.