Concert Reviews

The Lumineers at The Mod Club

Photographs by Daniela Tantalo.

Hoping to avoid the curse of the sophomore slump, Denver’s The Lumineers previewed tracks from their forthcoming Cleopatra album in the intimate confines of the Mod Club packed with Edge 102.1 contest winners.

Following the success of their eponymous debut propelled by the ubiquitous single “Ho Hey”, expectations are high for the new album.  So I found it surprising that with stakes so high that this was rolled out as a secret gig.  I knew who I was going in to see but most people I spoke with had no idea.  In the end it appeared the packing a club with oblivious contest winners proved to do more harm than good.  

When the hosts announced who was about to hit the stage, the expected communal roar was replaced with polite applause and some disbelief around my area.  This should have been the moment to hype both crowd and band alike basking in a moment that might not happen again.  Maybe a more established band would benefit from this surprise gig approach.  Packing the place with Lumineers fans would have benefited everyone involved.  Or maybe not packing the venue over-capacity making having any fun let alone the trek to the bathroom virtually impossible might have delivered a different evening.

Opening with a couple of new tracks including their latest single “Ophelia”, the band’s folk-rock connected with some of the crowd but the muddled sound ensured maximum potential would not be met.  Bass and drums were clear, while guitar and vocals of the various players sounded buried.  Stage banter I could not make out at all so I couldn’t tell if the band was happy or deflated.  The muddled sound would almost entirely get sorted over the course of the evening but again, lost some of the audience in the meantime.  Dropping “Ho Hey” four songs in didn’t help their case as most people around me tuned right out once the song was done.  Stopping the song mid-way to call out someone on their phone was also a momentum-stealer.  Patrons shut their phones off and had them locked in bags until exit and one punter may or may not have managed to sneak one by.  It was a bit obnoxious and probably doubly so as there was no room for Security to search the offender out and the person possibly didn’t even sneak in a phone and may have held the bag with phone up.  

The new songs played seem to bode well for the new album, the more up-tempo songs sounding pretty solid and catchy making a good case for them not to be relegated to the one-hit wonder bin.  Solo acoustic material could barely be heard over the crowd chatter, another annoying factor of having an oblivious audience.  In the end they played most of the debut, several new songs and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” which brought the disinterested back to life.  

About author

Concert reviewer at Live in Limbo.