By Brad Roberts
It happened again last weekend when I stepped into The Echo on Friday night, November 2, to see Lord Huron (at right) and The Lonely Wild. Just when I think I may be reaching a saturation point, I see a show that reinvigorates the whole idea of concert-going. First of all, I hadn't been out for a couple of weeks, so to be greeted by Kevin Bronson and RFSL Kathryn in a sea of strangers was most welcoming as the venue was filled up with a Friday night date crowd. Among the audience was a healthy sampling of female fans ready to swoon for these two most photogenic bands.
It was also a night to listen to the incredible vocal power these two bands share. We at Radio Free Silver Lake have long been fans of The Lonely Wild and it is always a pleasure to catch up with them, especially at such a high-profile show as this one. And a good portion of the audience obviously knew about them, or became instant fans on the spot, because the response was a contagious enthusiasm. I've seen this band sweep an entire room into their column, and many times and this night was no exception. Some even sang along.
The Lonely Wild (at right) have always displayed a self-confidence and assurance in their abilities that radiates from the stage. They know what they're doing and they know they do it well. From the beautifully sung vocals, which are powered by passion, to the expert musicianship of these multi-instrumental players, right down to the tightly written melodies and sharp lyrics, they keep on impressing me each time I see them.
Back in 2010, a new band emerged that almost immediately gained a following because of their refreshing take on a kind of harmony-laden, calypso-indie rock that produced an almost visceral sense of lying on a beach, sipping Pina Coladas while a soft tropical breeze blows. Lord Huron employs slightly distant sounding vocals that create an atmosphere of a pastoral landscape washed in mist, or conjures up an eerie, other-wordly mood like a bizarre luau at night, in a cemetery that is simultaneously haunting and inviting. Comparisons to Fleet Foxes notwithstanding, this band has a sound all their own.
It was impossible not to sit up and notice the first time I heard them. Moving from the midwest to Los Angeles, they began the band in April 2010 and caught the attention of many fans. After seeing a half dozen of their shows between Nov. 2010 and May 2011, I became a total fan as well. Ever since I got the new Lord Huron album, Lonesome Dreams, I've been eager to hear it performed live. But the packed Echo showed me just how their fame has spread, and they appear ready for it.
They spend a good deal of time and attention to their set up which pays off with a sterling sound mix. After setting up, they all exit the stage, leaving a gorgeous array of gleaming instruments, which adds to the anticipation and works the audience up. I was glad to be way up front but it was indeed a crush of bodies and when they took the stage, the whole mass moved forward. These guys are stars.
Their joy in playing was accentuated by the fact they were back home after being on the road and in the recording studio for a while. In fact I hadn't seen them in over a year. Now, with tons of new material, they have a large catalog to chose from, but they focused mainly on the new record. There was even a song that I didn't know, which is probably even newer.
Every band member, lead by Rob Schneider, has a style and a personality all his own, apart from extraordinary musical talent. Particular favorites included "I Will Be Back One Day", a really beautiful song, "Ends Of The Earth" and the title tune, but everything sounded good. There was a little trouble distinguishing Rob's vocals at first, but that was soon corrected. It was a wonderful re-introduction to Lord Huron, who I predicted great things for a while ago. It's nice to watch it coming to fruition.
photos by B. Roberts