Band members Jeremiah Fraites, Neyla Pekarek and Wesley Schultz carry on casual conversation with their fans while signing merchandise after the show.
The Lumineers illuminate Sonic Boom
By Maida Sulevic, UW News Lab
A single-file line of eager 20-somethings stretched outside the entrance of the Sonic Boom record store in Ballard on Tuesday evening for a free, all-ages concert by The Lumineers.
With Wesley Schultz on lead vocals and guitar, Jeremiah Fraites on drums and Neyla Pekarek on the cello, the Lumineers played songs off their album to what quickly became a packed room.
The Lumineers recently added two new members to their band: Stelth Ulvang on bass and Ben Wahamaki on the piano. The two joined the band on stage at the show.
It didn’t take long before the crowd livened up, clapping their hands and stomping their feet while Schultz’s rough and folksy voice boomed across the room. Audience members joined the band in a sing-along, chanting the lyrics to the band’s upbeat first single “Ho Hey.”
As the band transitioned into the album’s slower ballads such as “Dead Sea,” couples held each other close as they swayed to the sounds.
The band had spent the day visiting Seattle radio stations, promoting the release of their self-titled first full-length album before performing at Sonic Boom, which was their fourth gig of the day.
And during the entirety of their 40-minute set, the audience’s focus never broke away from the stage.
At one point during the show, Schultz invited a young boy named Isaac to join the band on stage for a song and the audience was delighted, laughing as the little man shyly played to the crowd.
Despite their newfound success, the band members seem to remain grounded, taking time to mingle with their fans and sign T-shirts and CDS.
“We’re a YouTube band,” said Schultz, crediting the site for the band’s success.
With Fraites, Schultz created the band in 2002 in Ramsey, N.J. After playing shows in New York and not having much success, the band moved to Denver where they met Pekarek. Together, they released a self-recorded EP and began touring.
According to Schultz, it took the band three years to compose the songs for the album and 10 months to record it.
The band produced the album in Ramsey and Brooklyn, recorded it in Seattle, remixed it in Los Angeles and remastered it in Maine. “We’re transplants,” said Schultz.
Although listeners often compare the band to folk artists, most notably Mumford and Sons, the members reject categorizing their music.
The Lumineers are very conscientious about using instruments such as the mandolin and the banjo sparingly in order to avoid regionalizing the music, sounding too folksy or too “Mumfordy,” said Fraites.
Whatever the band is doing seems to be working. The Lumineers are scheduled to continue their tour well into the summer.
As for the future, “I bused tables and I worked in coffee shops for a long time and I don’t want to do that again,” said Schultz.
Other free in-store concerts will include performances by We Are Augustines on April 8 at 4 p.m. and Star Anna on April 21 at 4 p.m. For more information, visit Sonic Boom’s website at http://www.sonicboomrecords.com/.
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