While many in the local music scene are reluctant to admit it, The Lumineers didn’t enjoy as much regional buzz as some other Colorado acts on their rise to fame. But if Sunday’s sold-out show was any indication, Denver fans are eager to remedy the oversight now.
Anyone who’s heard the band’s self-titled album (so, basically everyone) can imagine the sort of stompy, jangly folk music the band plays, which in itself was powerful to witness in a packed theater. What doesn’t translate over MP3 is the band’s interplay, both with each other and the audience. Singer Wesley Schultz and omni-instrumentalist Jeremiah Fraites have been friends for years, and it was obvious in the way they were able to joke and improvise without losing an ounce of the songs’ emotion.
The band climbed high into the Ogden’s second deck, with Schultz balancing perilously on some narrow lighting platform or piece of rigging, for an unplugged rendition of “Ho Hey.” The sound was less produced and more folky than perhaps any other at a major Denver concert this year. And there was absolutely no doubt that if Schultz slipped, the adoring crowd would have happily caught him.
Earlier, local singer-songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff put on a masterful, soulful, perhaps a bit overlong, set. But it proved that he should be on the national shortlist of up-and-coming Mumford-rockers. Even if that was never his intention.