Three distinct brands of Americana converged under one roof when The Lumineers played the Molson Amphitheatre this past Thursday supported by Rayland Baxter and Langhorne Slim & The Law. All are in a similar vein of music, but unique in their approach to the aesthetic.
Rayland Baxter played a hazy, mellow set with a sound that can be described as “working class indie”; down-tempo rhythms paired with wistful lyrics about life in rural America. By contrast Langhorne Slim kicked it up several notches, playing a harder brand of folk that’s rough around the edges, with frontman Sean Scolnick‘s voice often going into a bluesy, hoarse wail.
The Lumineers are now a full-fledged arena act, complete with an elaborate set that had massive glowing organ pipes hanging from the rafters resembling crystals in a cave. Frontman Wesley Schultz has perfected the art of working the crowd, knowing when to interject quips into songs, when to emphasize choruses for maximum impact, and when to actually go into the crowd. He did the latter during the songs “Where the Skies are Blue” and the Bob Dylan cover “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, adding to the communal folk feel that the band is going for.
Latest single “Ophelia”, with its shambling, barroom piano came only two songs into the set, with the stomping hit “Ho Hey” one song later.
From there it was an even mix from their latest chart-topping album Cleopatra and their debut, with standouts like “Slow it Down” and “Angela” punctuating the band’s unique sense of rhythm and melody. Single “Stubborn Love” was saved until the end of the encore, and had the audience chanting the platinum-hooked chorus even after the band had left the stage. In fact, the “whoa-ohs” could still be heard as thousands exited the Amphitheatre and went out into the night. That’s the impression The Lumineers make every time they come around.