Ben Schneider acknowledged early in the Lord Huron show last night that it had been, shall we say, quite a while
since the band had graced Cleveland with its fine brand of dreamy calypso campfire noir. The show had sold out months ago, in fact, and secondary-market tickets hovered — I kid you not — around the $120 mark just a week ago. The crowd, naturally, was amped as all hell.
Opening with "Ancient Names (Part I)," it was clear that the pulsing bass and drums from the new album would be a driving force in the live show: a heavy, thundering reminder that Lord Huron was actively developing new sounds in the studio and translating them with aplomb to the stage.
Bassist Miguel Briseño was a forceful presence through the show, and drummer Mark Barry kept busy with the many styles of percussion that we've seen through Lord Huron's evolving career. It was pretty clear that the band was really feeling it onstage — that the new album and this current tour were sources of progress for Lord Huron and that, no doubt, listeners should continue to expect big things from them.
During "Wait by the River," Schneider gripped the mic and crooned delicately. It has to be said that the guy knows a thing or two about presentation and poise, as he often removed his hat during the more emotional verses of a song and, upon returning it to his head, made sure that was positioned just so.
Lord Huron is a highly self-aware band, and, with Schneider at the helm, they've created something of a mythos
about them. If you're at all interested in the world-building of great novelists, you'll find stuff to like about the grand yarn this band has been spinning. (To the uber-curious, the band was selling Lord Huron Shopping Network VHS tapes at the merch table last night, for goodness sake; one can only imagine that surrealistic trip contained therein.)
For my money, the highlight of last night's show came in the brilliant transition between "Fool for Love" and "Ancient Names (Part II)." It was great that the band decided to bookend a vast slice of the setlist with "Ancient Names," rather than just rolling through the tunes back-to-back — a la the studio album sequencing. "Part II" is, in some ways, a heavier version of "Part I," and it's a sharp departure from a lot of Lord Huron's earlier material, making this transition all the more powerful in its contrast.
Things fizzled a bit between that powerful statement piece and the final song of the set, "Time to Run," which once again brought the energy to peak levels. The closing chords were immense
, and the crowd, as they had been all night, threw itself fully into the ecstasy of the moment. Catharsis.
The encore paired the band's recent mega-success of "The Night We Met" (via Netflix's 13 Reasons Why
) with one for the OG crowd: "We Went Wild" off the Into the Sun
EP. For the latter, Schneider set down his guitar and banged away on a snare drum, calling back to the band's roots in dazzling polyrhythmic percussion. It was a hell of a way to cap the night.
"We'll see you next time," Schneider said slyly. And, hopefully, it won't be long.
Lord Huron brought along Cherry Glazerr to open the show, and they were terrific. It's an interesting pairing; check out their 2017 album, Apocalipstick
, and you'll hear similarities in some of the two bands' desert-rock guitar riffs — but not terribly much else. And that's a good thing. The contrast was great, and the sold-out crowd seemed to big Cherry's borderline Black Sabbath-meets-Pixies vibe.