Four years after the undeniably catchy hit single “Ho Hey,” The Lumineers have returned with their second album Cleopatra, a heavier and more deliberate follow-up to their light-hearted Americana self-titled debut album.
On Saturday, May 28, as the fog settled into the Bowl, The Lumineers took to the stage and dove into an array of songs from their first and second albums. The popularity of their music rang true, as fans of all ages stood up and rocked out.
When it came time to play “Ho Hey,” the song that lingered at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard charts for 18 non-consecutive weeks, the band lined up at the front of the stage and lead singer Wesley Shultz invited everyone in the audience to stand up and sing along.
Halfway through the set, the band ventured into the crowd and positioned themselves by the soundboard where they slowed things down by playing “Where the Skies Are Blue” a song from Cleopatra that highlighted the vocals of the very talented cellist Neyla Pekarek.
Following a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” Shultz thanked the crowd for their enthusiasm and support, but urged his fans to make a deal with him to not use their phones for the entire second half of the show.
Maybe it was the lack of a tambourine beat, but the song “In the Light” stood out with its original melody and austere piano notes. Although it may not necessarily be a crowd pleaser, it showed a musical advancement in their songwriting.
While it seemed like the first half of the concert was directed toward an audience that favored their hit singles, the second half was an earnest attempt at showcasing the diversity of their new-found capabilities. The band played for themselves, and in doing so became enveloped in their own music.
In making Cleopatra, The Lumineers have successfully broken away from their anthemic roots and evolved into something more thoughtful, deliberate, and existential.