Concert Review: Lumineers at the Wolstein Center
Written by Reid Smith on March 14, 2017
By: Miles Purdy
Image via: Getty Images
March 11th, 2017
After the parking attendant made me to move my car the third time, me and my less than willing sister stood outside of the Wolstein Stadium doors in Cleveland. It’s Lumineers today, and apparently the show sold out months ago. I pop another cough drop as she makes fun of the hipster kids in line. I’m sick as a dog, but I’m hoping for a good show tonight. To my surprise, the venue is still nearly empty when Susto takes the stage at seven on the dot.
I’ll admit I wasn’t terribly impressed by Susto, and the crowd was lukewarm to them at best. Certainly, they had a good folkrock sound, but they never fully got the energy I had hoped to see. There were two middle aged women in the row in front of us writing full length emails while they were playing. The whole night had that issue; no phone etiquette whatsoever. Midway there was a certain song that I found my foot tapping along for the first time that night, but a drop in pace to a slower, nearly country ballad dipped my interest back down to listening to my sister rag on our rude neighbors. To be honest, I feel my moments of boredom was more of a problem of venue rather than the act. Had it been at somewhere like the Agora, The Grog Shop, or a even a small festival, I think they would have been a more engaging act. Overall, pretty standard; if you like that sort of thing, it’s good stuff.
Something felt immediately different from Susto when Icelandic rock group Kaleo took the stage. The entire arena was completely black when the first guitar plucks came riffing out. In the first few notes, there was a stronger energy than anything else that Susto had brought to the stage last night. This isn’t to disparage Susto; Kaleo just came off that strongly, and the crowd thought so too. It felt like they were the real opening act. They had the vibe; a bit of the early Black Keys tracks melded with something new. Now, I had forgotten that Kaleo was playing that night. So when they went start to finish with an extremely solid performance, I was mighty impressed. Even my Social Distortion-loving sister was impressed, saying “Mike Ness would probably like them, so I have to like them”.
After spending the better part of the break between acts complaining about food prices at venues, Lumineers finally took the stage. The whole stadium stood up as they opened to one of the tracks off of the new Cleopatra release. Even in my deteriorating state, I was able to logically conclude that they were excellent. Musically, they were on point, blending their folk melodies nicely into the the They made the venue feel more intimate despite the large stage, and came off as a truly genuine performance. Lumineers frontman Wesley Schultz would occasionally take a moment between songs to say a thing or two about a track adding to the already increased intimacy. This theme was so integral to their performance that night that, in a space in the center of the arena floor, a tiny stage had been set up for the band to play on. We both agreed that sucked for the people who bought first row, though it only made the crowd more ecstatic as a massive chandelier suddenly appeared above the band on their tiny stage. It was about this time that my supply of cough drops depleted, and my occasional coughs became full wheezing fits. After playing a few of their more popular tracks, they returned to the main stage to bring the show home. Shortly after, we stepped into the Cleveland night, looking for food and drink that didn’t cost a limb.