As the Lumineers warmed up a sold-out Terminal 5 in Manhattan on Friday night, it wasn’t a battle of identity as some fans might have guessed.
The group’s core started the band in Jersey, and then moved to New York before landing in Denver, finalizing its line-up, recording its eponymous record and then blowing up all Mumford-style.
Many things have happened since, including Grammy nominations, a high-profile spot on “Saturday Night Live” and the inspiration for a large New York Times story that will come out in the coming weeks on Denver’s still-thriving music community.
But one thing was clear on Friday night in NYC: The Lumineers are a Colorado band, and they’re one of the hottest bands in the game right now.
As they showed during two sold-out nights at the Ogden Theatre in Denver around New Year’s Eve, the three-piece has expanded to five and even six pieces. The extra bodies and instruments give their bare bones sound a fullness that compliments everything in the mix.
That thickness in sound isn’t needed, because this indie folk music was first crafted with an acoustic guitar in mind. But it’s a nice change, especially when the group is playing venues such as Terminal 5 and the Ogden and their 3,000 and 1,700 capacities, respectively.
Of course “Ho Hey” was in the mix on Friday – twice, even. As the band’s been doing lately, they played an unplugged singalong of the hit early on, asking the audience for (and getting plenty of) help. And then they anchored their encore with a plugged-in take on the song.
Twice is a bit much for any song, but the boozy, talky audience seemed to appreciate it. The other songs that got the excited crowd singing along were the melodic “Flowers in Your Hair,” the ballad “Stubborn Love” and the cover of “Ain’t Nobody’s Problem,” which had them shouting out to Denver artist Sawmill Joe, who wrote the song.
Joe McCabe is a New York photographer and a regular contributor to Reverb. Check out his website.