Another mid-week show, this time the venue was Plymouth Pavilions and the band were The Lumineers who had just kicked off the UK leg of their world tour in support of their latest long player ‘Cleopatra’ that had reached the top spot in the USA, Canada and the UK, read on to see how the evening unfolded.
We chatted to Jeremiah a week ahead of the show and he told me about how they were invited to play at The White House in front of the President and his family and how they met them after the show and found out that their music was included on the White House Spotify playlist, you don’t get an endorsement much better than that! We also chatted about the highs and the lows of touring and LOADS of other cool stuff, if you’d like to read the interview, click HERE
We arrived at the venue, a pit pass was waiting for me at the box office and I soon made my way to the hallowed ground between the barrier and the stage to setup and get some test shots in the bag ahead of the support act kicking off the evening’s festivities.
The lights dimmed and on walked the support act Bahamas, made up of 4 people, led by Alfie Jurvanen and accompanied by a guitarist, backing singer, drummer and bass player. I soon learned that ‘Bahamas’ was just Alfie, the other musicians were his ‘live’ band. Hailing from Ontario in Canada, Alfie wasted no time in launching into songs about sunsets, love affairs and life in general, all songs were graciously received by the healthy audience that had come to check him out. His between song banter was amusing, he spoke of one of the band going roller skating in Plymouth whereas he decided to have a walk around the city centre, opting to visit many of the centre's prime retail establishments such as Sports Direct and a variety of ‘Pound’ shops, picking up some great bargains along the way no doubt!
His sweet, soulful lyrics coupled with some amazing, well-constructed music really did a great job of warming the crowd for the main act and I dare say that Alfie won a few new fans during his 30 minute set. A particular favourite for me was ‘I Got You Babe’ (not the Cher song!) with its rolling guitar riff and laid back beats.
Bahamas is an act that I am definitely going to invest some time in as I want to learn more about him, his background and the influences that have led him to create what he does, I strongly suggest you do the same.
After a short break, the stage was prepped for the headline act of the evening, a band that I fell in love with years ago when I saw them play at the Pavilions back in 2013 following the success of their eponymous 2012 debut album.
What I love about this band is that despite their standing, they play such a stripped back, simple set, no distractions, no laser light shows, no video wall pumping their political views into your psyche, taking the attention away from the action, just the band, their instruments and the easy going nature of the music that they produce.
Having just released their latest album ‘Cleopatra’, I was expecting a set heavily biased in that direction, their opening track ‘Sleep on the Floor’ set the scene of the night and was followed by the crowd pleasing ‘Ophelia’ which went down really well. Possibly the most well known Lumineers track ‘Ho Hey’ featured quite early in the set, I thought this might have been one for the encore instead but as it was, kept the pace going throughout the first act with the band lined up on the lip of the stage, singing into the audience with them singing back to them in unison, certainly a memory I will carry with me for a long time. Another highlight came when they played ‘Darlene’, Wesley choosing to sing without amplification, the crowd hushed to silence and Jeremiah plucking a man from the audience to hold his xylophone whilst he did a tremendous job of providing the melody to the song.
I forget which song it was but Wesley jumped down from the stage and vaulted the barrier to spend a few minutes walking around the room, singing, 'high fiving' and generally pressing flesh with the audience, a real treat that I guess they weren’t expecting at all!
‘Big Parade’ started low key, built until it reached boiling point, the room jumping along to the music and clearly having the time of their lives which was amazing to see at a midweek show, clearly they had decided to let their hair down and take an early weekend to enjoy the band at their very best.
The band left the stage to rapturous applause, the noise in the main auditorium swelling to fever pitch, people stamping, cheering, clapping for more. It wasn’t long before they were back on stage, thanking the audience for the warm reception they had offered and said that they had another few songs for them. They kicked off with the stripped back ‘Long Way From Home’, Wesley’s acoustic guitar dueling with his voice, ringing out into the auditorium. This was followed by ‘Morning Song’, it’s lush bluesy opening bars preparing the crowd for the finale of the show. ‘Stubborn Love’ was the final track of the set and with it’s sing-along verse and catchy driving beat really did a great job of wrapping up the deal, a damned fine way of ending a momentous show in the heart of Plymouth.
After the UK, the band are heading out to mainland Europe, Australia and South Africa prior to taking a well earned break in Spring 2017, if you already have tickets, you’re in for a real treat, if not, then go and buy some, you won’t regret it! Click HERE to check out which cities and venues are left on the tour.
Words and Pictures by Steve Muscutt