(words by Gareth Wilson & photos by Ingrid Swart)
My little love affair with The Lumineers started over 2 years back when Andre Kriel from the Black Cat bones made me one of his infamous mix tapes (it was actually a CD but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it). Like all the mix tapes Andre had made for me before, every single song was pure power, but I found myself returning to this very basic stripped down song called ‘Slow it down’. As Andre never labels his mix tapes, I had no idea who I was listening to, until… Shazam and that’s when the Lumineers came into my life.
After a morning of spraying oil drums for my wedding, I managed to get to the gardens by 13:00 just in time to have a few cold beers and wait for the paint high to dissipate. I walked around the grounds and have to commend Seed productions on doing a stellar job and Blue Array were, as always, on top of their game. I really enjoyed Majozi and Dear reader’s sets before heading backstage to meet the band.
When I arrived backstage I realised that I may have had seven too many beers. My suspicions were confirmed when I saw the worried look on Ingrid’s (the photographer) face as I started reading over my scruffy hand written notes. I decided to pull myself towards myself, mainly because I knew Griffin would give me a PK if I messed this one up for him. I was lucky enough to have a sit down with Jeremiah the drummer, co writer and backing vocalist of the band. It was such a great experience, just two musicians talking about tjoons.
After the interview I headed back through the mass of fedoras and man buns to find my people. There were more beards in this audience than you would see at an AWB rally in the 80’s. Personally I can’t tell the difference between hipsters, jocks or right wing conservatives anymore but it was pointed out to me that the way to tell them apart is whether they are wearing socks or not. I quickly noticed a lot of bare feet in vellies so I knew we wouldn’t be singing ‘ Die Stem ‘ anytime soon.
As the show kicked off you could feel the crowd’s excitement. I love how this band appeals to old school folk lovers, hipster kids and even families watching the show together. The band got ‘Hey Ho’ out of the way within the first three songs and sadly you did notice that a few people lost interest after that. With a band like this you will always have these people, but it didn’t sway the rest of the audience one bit. Wesley, the lead vocalist, won over the entire audience immediately when he asked them to please put their phones down “so we can all just enjoy this moment together”. Surprisingly they listened, well for a little while anyway. The set list flowed beautifully and for a second I thought it was going to peak during their cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Subteranean Homesick Blues’, but a song or two later they dropped ‘Slow it Down’ and I fell in love with these hairy little yanks all over again.
The band really brought it home for me with ‘Dead Sea’ . The audience roared along and Wesley actually thanked them for listening to the entire album and not just the one song. Another standout was a new track where Neyla Pekarek did the bulk of the vocals, I really hope the band are going to be using her on lead vox more often on the new album.
Sadly it all had to come to an end and the only thing I could judge them on was that the show was way too short but with only one album behind their backs that was to be expected. Thanks to Watkykjy, Universal and Seed for the opportunity to listen to some great tunes and have a little chat with Jeremiah. Hope South Africa gets to see them on tour with their new album in the foreseeable future.