Folk-rock five-piece The Lumineers hail from the richly-cultured, mountainous urban landscape of Denver, Colorado, but their music is pure ‘30s-style dustpan alley, shoe-shuffling Americana fused with catchy, modern alt-rock melodies.
At their pre-Grammy performance for AMP Radio and Radio.com at the Grammy Museum in Downtown Los Angeles, the GRAMMY-nominated group donned their quintessential retro-rags. Cellist Neyla Pekarek wore toile tights, cocoa brown oxfords and a vintage-looking locket around her neck. Multifaceted frontman, Wesley Schulz, wore a fedora and a charming rough-and-rugged aura that melted the tension from them coming on an hour late.
The culprit of their tardiness was a broken cello. Schulz called out United Airlines for breaking their cello and thanked the band’s crew and staff for getting a cello to them so quickly before the band played a five-song set of favorites like “Flowers In Your Hair,” “Ho Hey,” “Classy Girl,” “Stubborn Love,” and “Flapper Girl,” which was an audience request.
“How is she playing,” he asked Pekarek about her borrowed cello. “She’s alright,” replied Pekarek in her sweet, shy voice.
The solemn image of a broken cello replaced with something temporary, but equally as beautiful sounding thanks to Pekarek’s deft playing was a fitting metaphor for the sadly-elegant, but ultimately heart-soothing lyrics of the Lumineers’ songs and their many three and four-part harmonies served as support through the vulnerable refrains of Schulz’s husky voice.
Trying to impart that communal feeling upon the audience, Schulz encouraged the audience to sing along during “Stubborn Love” and made them all stand up. One couple did a bit of swing dancing in the front row, while others clapped in time, hollering every time there was an expanse of rhythm.
At the end, no one wanted to leave the warm and inviting space that the Lumineers had created. “It feels like we’re just getting started,” said Schulz. “Sorry this was such a short experience for both of us.” Putting down their instruments, the truest heart-warming moment of the whole set was when the band hugged each other and whispered to each other “good job.”
With such fantastic talent and humble work ethic as the Lumineers, they might just be starting, but we predict their experience in the musical spotlight won’t be short.
Will The Lumineers take home a GRAMMY for Best New Artist or Best Americana Album? Watch the 55th GRAMMY Awards Sunday, February 10th at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
-Nadia Noir, 97.1 AMP Radio/Los Angeles
Photos: Gabriel Olsen